Genetic Techniques Show Promise in Promoting Growth of Skin, Bone and Other Tissues

Courtesy ASPS – Arlington Heights, IL.

Experimental genetic techniques may one day provide plastic and reconstructive surgeons with an invaluable tool-the ability to promote growth of the patient’s own tissues for reconstructive surgery. A review of recent progress toward developing effective gene therapies for use in “regenerative surgery” appears in the June issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). Over the past ten years, researchers have developed several promising gene therapy techniques to grow skin, bone and other tissues for reconstructive surgery. But they still face many challenges in developing gene-based approaches that can make the leap from the research lab to the operating room, according to the review by Dr. Giorgio Giatsidis and colleagues of Padua University Hospital, Italy.

Gene Therapy Approaches Studied for ‘Almost Every Tissue’…

Dr. Giatsidis and coauthors reviewed the state of the art in research on gene therapy techniques for treatment of local disorders and injuries-the first such review in more than a decade. They found studies using gene therapy to promote the growth of “almost every different tissue” for use in regenerative surgery. “Gene therapy may represent a leading strategy to develop more efficient regenerative surgical treatments for numerous clinical needs,” they write.

Gene therapy has the potential to provide reconstructive surgeons with a new approach to solving one of their most difficult problems: the lack of adequate tissues to correct deformities of a specific area or structure. For example, in patients with relatively small burns, plastic and reconstructive surgeons have designed a wide range of skin flaps for use in transferring healthy tissue to the burned area.

But for patients with burns involving larger areas, the lack of suitable tissues for coverage may severely limit the reconstructive options. Using gene techniques to promote growth of specific types of tissues would be a major step forward in the ability to perform truly regenerative surgery.

Read the entire article: http://www.plasticsurgery.org/news/past-press-releases/2013-archives/gene-therapies-for-regenerative-surgery-are-getting-closer.html

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