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Trends Biotechnol. 2004 Feb;22(2):80-6.

The role of bioreactors in tissue engineering.

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Departments of Surgery and of Research, University Hospital Basel, Hebelstrasse 20, ZLF, Room 405, 4031, Basel, Switzerland.


Ex vivo engineering of living tissues is a rapidly developing area with the potential to impact significantly on a wide-range of biomedical applications. Major obstacles to the generation of functional tissues and their widespread clinical use are related to a limited understanding of the regulatory role of specific physicochemical culture parameters on tissue development, and the high manufacturing costs of the few commercially available engineered tissue products. By enabling reproducible and controlled changes of specific environmental factors, bioreactor systems provide both the technological means to reveal fundamental mechanisms of cell function in a 3D environment, and the potential to improve the quality of engineered tissues. In addition, by automating and standardizing tissue manufacture in controlled closed systems, bioreactors could reduce production costs, thus facilitating a wider use of engineered tissues.

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