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An exciting era is on our doorstep: regenerative medicine. Why? Because knowledge and technology are converging to the point where cell or tissue therapies are becoming more and more available, world-wide. Another reason is because regenerative medicine relies on interdisciplinary, team-science that brings basic scientists and clinicians together. This union, which is consistent with the Journal's emphasis of integrative biology that crosses disciplines, appears to be a paradigm for science of the future. For these reasons, The Anatomical Record is proud to publish this special issue on stem cells and tissue engineering.

Another reason for the Journal's pride is its substantial archive of published papers that are related to regenerative medicine. Perusing the archive reveals nearly 100 papers on stem cells and/or tissue engineering. One of the first papers characterizes spermatogonia stem-cell renewal in the mouse (Oakberg, 1971). More than a decade later, a paper describes myosatellite cell growth and regeneration in a mouse model of dystrophic muscle (Ontell et al., 1984). The number of regenerative medicine-related papers during the decade of the 1990s equals the number such papers published in the preceding two decades. The two papers focus on guided tissue regeneration related to endosseous dental implants (Listgarten, 1996) and pluripotent embryonic stem cell models of development (O'Shea, 1999).

The number of publications in The Anatomical Record that are related to regenerative medicine exploded in the 21st century. One paper, which reported temporary airway epithelial repopulation and rare clonal formation by mesenchymal stem cells after injury to the lung of mice (Serikov et al., 2007), provided the cover illustration for the Journal (Volume 290, 2007). Nearly 20 papers reported results for the cardiovascular system, including the heart (Eisenberg and Eisenberg, 2004; Rosen et al., 2004; Perez-Pomares et al., 2006). Also well represented is the nervous system (ca. 15 papers) (Geuna et al., 2001; Gokhan and Mehler, 2001; Zhang et al., 2010). So are bone (ca. 10 papers) (Mishra and Knothe Tate, 2003; Umehara et al., 2012) and cartilage (also ca. 10 papers) (Huang et al., 2004; Mauck et al., 2007). Other papers report results for cellular motors for manufacturing molecules (Dinu et al., 2007), matrices (Badylak, 2005), adipose tissue (Patrick, 2001), hematology (Yoder, 2004), cochlear and vestibular systems (Eshraghi et al., 2012; Fridman and Della Santina, 2012), germ lines (Oakberg, 1971), muscle (Hirschi and Majesky, 2004), skin (Casasco et al., 2001), reserve stem cells (Young et al., 2001), embryonic stem cells (Gokhan and Mehler, 2001), wound healing (Delorme et al., 2012), methods (An et al., 2001; Merzkirch et al., 2001; Liu et al., 2012), in vivo tracking (Cao et al., 2009), and tissue engineering (Evans, 2001; Gutowska et al., 2001; Mann and West, 2001; Walgenbach et al., 2001; Boland et al., 2003). Lastly, a number of reviews on stem cells, tissue engineering, and regenerative medicine are among the legion of papers that are published in The Anatomical Record (Carlson, 1999; Mironov and Markwald, 2001; Young and Black, 2004; Di Felice et al., 2009; Hong et al., 2010). You are invited to access and read these important papers (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1002/%28 ISSN%291932-8494).

A motivation for the present special issue on stem cells and tissue engineering is that injury or disease creates defects that represent challenges to surgical reconstruction or replacement to improve quality of life or life expectancy. The papers in this special issue provide contemporary assessments of the emerging fields of stem cells and tissue engineering, an important goal of which is to help develop biological substitutes that restore structure and function. Along the way, the papers consider essential principals and methods that underlie successful applications of stem cells and tissue engineering. These considerations are important because of the need to optimize techniques to acquire and expand cells and tissues, and provide scaffolds to shape tissues and organs. Equally importantly, in vivo testing in large animal models is necessary to determine efficacy, durability, and safety because the target is treatment of human subjects with injury or disease. We hope that the papers in this special issue will stimulate readers to continue to push the fields of stem cells and tissue engineering to expand translation to human applications of regenerative medicine (Mitrecic et al., 2009).

  • Kurt H. Albertine*

  • Editor-in-Chief, The Anatomical Record

  • Division of Neonatology

  • Department of Pediatrics

  • University of Utah

  • Salt Lake City, Utah

  • Mari Dezawa

  • Associate Editor, The Anatomical Record

  • Department of Stem Cell Biology and Histology

  • Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine

  • Sendai, Japan

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