When cells become medicines: A South African perspective
The discovery of human leucocyte antigen (HLA), serological matching and HLA-typing techniques, combined with the development of immunosuppressive medicines and improvements in infection control, have opened the way to cell, tissue and vascularised organ transplantation. Since the early 1960s, more than a million haematopoietic progenitor cell (HPC) transplantations have been performed worldwide to restore haematopoiesis and support immune system recovery after bone marrow ablation. HPC transplantation uses minimally manipulated autologous or allogeneic cells to restore the homologous functions of bone marrow. Research in biological sciences supported by new technologies is increasingly translated into therapeutic products intended to augment, repair, replace or regenerate genes, cells, tissues, organs and metabolic processes in the body. These products are referred to as regenerative medicine therapies or advanced therapy medicinal products, and include gene therapies, cell-based therapies and engineered tissue products.
I M Viljoen, Institute for Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Department of Immunology, and SAMRC Extramural Unit for Stem Cell Research and Therapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa
M S Pepper, Institute for Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Department of Immunology, and SAMRC Extramural Unit for Stem Cell Research and Therapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa
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Date published: 2021-11-05
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