Author: Jeff Biggers
Ever since my son was diagnosed with a rare ocular syndrome and retinal scarring last winter, I have found myself returning to the promise of regeneration — in our stories, our health and our ecosystems.
When it comes to our health, the potential for regenerative medicine seems to be growing. I have plowed through reams of scientific studies in stages of despair and encouragement that this growing field may hold hope for “regenerating damaged tissues and organs in the body,” according to the National Institutes of Health, “by stimulating previously irreparable organs to heal themselves.”
Regenerative medicine institutes abound in the U.S. and abroad, specializing in eye and heart diseases, tissue replacement to organs affected by cancer. Global demand for stem cells has created a multi-billion dollar market. Japan’s government recently kicked in $1.7 billion for its regenerative medicine industry.
Recent breakthroughs in stem cell research, such as last summer’s study by the Oregon Health and Science University on patient-specific embryonic stem cells and therapeutic cloning, make headlines regularly now.
But my son Massimo’s future depends not only on these huge investments in regenerative medicine; his generation needs a similar investment in regenerating our ravaged ecosystems. Facing the silent tsunamis of climate change and environmental destruction, my son’s planet is as scarred and imperiled as his sight.