The Vaal University of Technology is hosting The International Conference on Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine (ICTERM) this week. The conference will cover areas such as recent advances, challenges and breakthroughs in the field of tissue engineering.
Simply put, Tissue Engineering is the creation of spare human parts. Scientifically, it is the science of design and manufacturing of new tissues for the functional restoration of impaired organs and replacement of lost parts due to cancer, disease, and trauma. Without it, people across the world would not be able to be treated or cured of chronic diseases.
Human Tissue donation and transplantation offer patients in need a wonderful opportunity for healing and life. Although thousands of patients receive tissue transplants annually, there is still great ignorance regarding the fact that donors are required and that one donation can enable doctors to treat 65 or even more patients. One of the biggest challenges in providing skin in adequate quantities is the shortage of organ and tissue donors. The medical field is in desperate need of a renewable source of cells and tissue for transplantation therapy, Tissue engineering and regenerative medicine have the potential to resolve the transplantation crisis caused by a shortage of organs and tissue donors.
The best solution to this problem is cadaveric human skin. Only a few strips from the very top layer of skin can be procured from organ and tissue donors and then be used very effectively on burn victims. “Cadaver skin is an essential component in the success of the skin bank. Donating your tissue can save up to 60 lives,” said Dr Nikki Allorto, President of the South African Burn Society and founder of the Burn Care Trust.
The ICTERM aims to bring together distinguished clinicians and scientists from around the world who work in the following areas: stem cell tissue engineering, cartilage and bone tissue engineering and biomaterials tissue engineering. During the five-day conference, well-known experts in the field will discuss recent advances, challenges and breakthroughs in the field of tissue engineering. The conference will also serve as a platform to launch the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society (TERMIS) in Africa. Currently, there is TERMIS-Europe, TERMIS-Asia and TERMIS-USA, so the conference is the perfect occasion to launch TERMIS-Africa.
Every person in South Africa can make a difference, and it is our appeal to the public to make a decision in favour of donation after their own death. With the help of the ITCERM and the launch of TERMIS-Africa, we can raise awareness of the need for donors, increase understanding and generate new findings in the field of tissue engineering.