It may be a cliché to say the future is happening right now, but as it relates to the burgeoning field of regenerative medicine, nothing one says could be more on the money. With things like bio-printing organs and tissues, training immune cells to kill cancer, and injections of cells to rejuvenate aging skin, it all sounds more like something from a science fiction film and less like the advancements being made today in the field of cell therapies.
These life-changing advancements offer revolutionary cures and a new reality in medicine. With dozens of cell therapy products already approved as medicines by regulatory agencies around the world and a pipeline of products in development for almost every imaginable human disease or condition, things are evolving at a rapid pace that not only promise patients less invasive procedures, but a new lease on life. Companies and investors alike are seizing the opportunity to invest in this pioneering field.
At the forefront of these achievements is the role of cell therapies in curing and abating certain forms of cancer. In blood-affected strains in particular, such as lymphoma and leukemia, modifying a patient’s own immune cells to target their cancer is resulting in cure-like remissions. What has for decades been the veritable Mt. Everest in the painstaking search for medical cures is now literally in sight. As researchers continue the march forward, it’s apparent that one day most, if not all forms, of cancer will be cured.
Another example of regenerative medicine revolves around the engineering of new tissues and organs manufactured using stem cells. Already we have patients who have received such organs and are thriving. Recent achievements built on decades of research point to a not-too-distant future in which patients receive a range of recreated body parts and organs grown from their very own cells—something only imaginable a few short years ago.
As a whole, advancements in regenerative medicine companies are accumulating considerable investment capital on the strength of their developments and data. This decade has seen the emergence of multi-billion dollar valuations even prior to FDA approval of a product hitting the market. Smart investors who understand the future of biotech are taking advantage of these opportunities for value creation.
At this time, according to the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine, there are 25 cell therapy or gene-modified cell therapy products that have received regulatory approval throughout the world. In the U.S. alone, patients now have the opportunity to treat conditions ranging from gingivitis and cartilage defects, to metastatic melanoma and prostate cancer, using fully approved products that employ cell-therapy technology.
In foreign markets, including China and Korea, approved products are being marketed for even more conditions, including Crohn’s disease, bone and connective tissue disorders, congestive heart failure, myocardial infarction and
a variety of cancers, including bladder, breast, liver, lung and ovarian cancers.
I’m thrilled to have been part of this groundbreaking industry since 2000 working with many of the sector's pioneers. Now, in my role as President and CEO of RepliCel Life Sciences, I’m privy to firsthand developments which only serve to grow my enthusiasm for this field.
Our researchers—and others like them from across the globe—are expanding this new frontier and creating things that were, heretofore, merely the stuff of science fiction.
Lee Buckler is the President and CEO of RepliCel Life Sciences. He possesses nearly 20 years of cell therapy experience and has pioneered many innovative business and cell science approaches in the field of regenerative medicine.
As CEO of RepliCel, Buckler oversees the development of the world’s first-of-its-kind cell therapies treating conditions affecting 1 in 3 Americans: pattern baldness, aging and sun-damaged skin, and chronic tendon degeneration. RepliCel aesthetic and orthopedic-focused products are cell therapies involving a local injection of a patient’s own stem cells into areas where the need is related to the resident cells no longer capable of meeting demand. RepliCel is also innovating around unique dermal injection technologies, proprietary cell isolation and manufacturing technologies, and unique cell delivery systems.
RepliCel Life Sciences