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Biomaterials. 2005 May;26(14):1857-75.

The roles of tissue engineering and vascularisation in the development of micro-vascular networks: a review.

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Biomaterials & Tissue Engineering Centre (BTEC), University Department of Surgery, Royal Free and University College Medical School, University College London, Rowland Hill Street, London NW3 2PF, UK.


The construction of tissue-engineered devices for medical applications is now possible in vitro using cell culture and bioreactors. Although methods of incorporating them back into the host are available, current constructs depend purely on diffusion which limits their potential. The absence of a vascular network capable of distributing oxygen and other nutrients within the tissue-engineered device is a major limiting factor in creating vascularised artificial tissues. Though bio-hybrid prostheses such as vascular bypass grafts and skin substitutes have already been developed and are being used clinically, the absence of a capillary bed linking the two systems remains the missing link. In this review, the different approaches currently being or that have been applied to vascularise tissues are identified and discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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