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Ann Biomed Eng. 2015 Mar;43(3):593-602. doi: 10.1007/s10439-014-1125-2. Epub 2014 Sep 23.

Strategies to direct the enrichment, expansion, and recruitment of regulatory cells for the treatment of disease.

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Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.


Disease and injury perturb the balance of processes associated with inflammation and tissue remodeling, resulting in positive feedback loops, exacerbation of disease and compromised tissue repair. Conversely, under homeostatic healthy conditions, these processes are tightly regulated through the expansion and/or recruitment of specific cell populations, promoting a balanced steady-state. Better understanding of these regulatory processes and recent advances in biomaterials and biotechnology have prompted strategies to utilize cells for the treatment and prevention of disease through regulation of inflammation and promotion of tissue repair. Herein, we describe how cells that regulate these processes can be increased in prevalence at a site of disease or injury. We review several relevant cell therapy approaches as well as new strategies for directing endogenous regulatory cells capable of promoting environmental homeostasis and even the establishment of a pro-regenerative micro-environment. Collectively, these examples may provide a blueprint for next-generation "medicine" that spurs the body's own cells to action and replaces conventional drugs.

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