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Innovations in regenerative medicine will lead to treatments for diseases that up to now have been incurable, like osteoporosis, diabetes and heart and kidney failure. In addition to the health benefits, regenerative medicine also has an important impact on the biomedical and healthcare industries.

In order to raise awareness of research being carried out and advances made in this field, as well as fostering collaboration among European and Chinese researchers, the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) has organized the second European-Chinese Symposium on Biomaterials in Regenerative Medicine. This symposium will bring together more than 150 participants and top specialists from both geographic areas in Barcelona from 16 to 20 November. This joint event is promoted by the European Society for Biomaterials (ESB) and the Chinese Committee for Biomaterials (CCBM).

Research in regenerative medicine

The development of regenerative medicine will allow the body to repair itself by generating healthy tissue and organs. In order to achieve this, researchers are working with a combination of biomaterials, cells and growth factors that stimulate cell activity to produce viable and functional tissue and organs.

The advantages of regenerative medicine, which uses the patient's own cells, include the fact that there is no risk of the body rejecting the new organs or tissue, that there is no need for donors, and that the treatment provides a definitive solution because the tissue is regenerated.

Some of these solutions are currently being incorporated to repair skin in burn victims and to treat ulcers. New applications currently being researched include bone growth for trauma victims, osteoporosis and cancer. In cardiology, developments include biodegradable stents to regenerate tissue in blood vessels, generate new small blood vessels and regenerate heart valves. For the nervous system, both regeneration of peripheral nerve tissue and the spinal cord is being studied. Studies are also being carried out to apply regenerative medicine to intervertebral discs, regenerating the macula, and regenerating tissues to treat intestinal hernias among others.

Photo (from left to right): inaugural event with the vice-rector in charge of Research at the UPC; head of the Office of Education at the Chinese Embassy in Spain, Wang Zhiwei; general director of Research for the Government of Catalonia, Joan Roca; vice-rector in charge of Research at the UB, Jordi Alberch; and the head of the Added-value Materials unit of the European Commission, Renzo Tomellini.

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