Regenerative medicinal chemistry: the in situ control of stem cells.
In recent years, there has been mounting evidence to support the presence of stem and progenitor cells within many adult tissues that retain the capacity to proliferate and differentiate, thereby contributing to tissue homeostasis and repair. In line with these discoveries, there have been increasing efforts to develop new agents that target these resident stem and progenitor cell populations in situ to augment or to stimulate repair and regeneration processes. Two such agents are approved drugs, and several more are currently in clinical and preclinical development. Through this emerging therapeutic paradigm there is enormous scope for medicinal chemistry to play a pivotal role in regenerative medicine. The potential impact of regenerative medicinal chemistry is profound, and future studies will reveal which tissue types or disease states will prove most readily tractable through this approach.