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SAMJ: South African Medical Journal

On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
Print version ISSN 0256-9574

Abstract

VILJOEN, IM  and  PEPPER, M S. When cells become medicines: A South African perspective. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. [online]. 2021, vol.111, n.11, pp.1055-1059. ISSN 2078-5135.  http://dx.doi.org/10.7196/samj.2021.v111i11.15990.

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.

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