• Dominik Duscher
  • Matthias M. Aitzetmüller
  • Elizabeth A. Brett


In order to be sure that all readers are able to understand the following chapters, the authors define regenerative medicine, tissue engineering, and stem cells.

1.1 Regenerative Medicine

Regenerative medicine is an area of biomedicine, bridging the gap between life science and engineering [1]. Combining tissue engineering and stem cell biology with a focus on translational aspects, it aims to achieve replacement and engineering/regeneration of cells, tissues, and organs.

1.2 Tissue Engineering

Tissue engineering has the ultimate translational goal to utilize scaffolds, cells, and active molecules to form fully functional tissue. It is an interdisciplinary field that applies the principles of engineering and life sciences toward the development of biological substitutes. The goal functions include restoration, maintenance, or improvement of tissue or organ [2].

1.3 Stem Cells

Stem cells are undifferentiated cells belonging to multicellular organisms. They are capable of giving rise to identical daughter cells, or alternate phenotypes through differentiation. Stem cells are the building blocks of life, whose un-mutated genetic pool is the hallmark of health. However, stem cells are also the building blocks for molecular medicine in the twenty-first century [3]. Following the principle of regenerative medicine, stem cell-based therapies have the potential to treat countless human diseases.


  1. 1.
    Mao AS, Mooney DJ. Regenerative medicine: current therapies and future directions. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2015;112(47):14452–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Langer R, Vacanti JP. Tissue engineering. Science. 1993;260(5110):920–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Caplan AI, Bruder SP. Mesenchymal stem cells: building blocks for molecular medicine in the 21st century. Trends Mol Med. 2001;7(6):259–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dominik Duscher
    • 1
  • Matthias M. Aitzetmüller
    • 2
    • 3
  • Elizabeth A. Brett
    • 4
  1. 1.Department for Plastic Surgery and Hand Surgery, Division of Experimental Plastic SurgeryTechnical University of MunichMunichGermany
  2. 2.Department of Plastic and Hand SurgeryKlinikum rechts der Isar, Technical University MünchenMunichGermany
  3. 3.Section of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Department of Trauma, Hand and Reconstructive SurgeryWestfaelische Wilhelms, University of MuensterMuensterGermany
  4. 4.Division for Experimental Plastic Surgery, Department of Plastic and Hand SurgeryKlinikum rechts der Isar, Technical University of MunichMunichGermany

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