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J R Soc Interface. 2006 Oct 22;3(10):589-601.

Challenges in tissue engineering.

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  • 1Department of Bioenvironmental Medicine, Nara Medical University, Shijoh-cho 840, Nara 634-8521, Japan.


Almost 30 years have passed since a term 'tissue engineering' was created to represent a new concept that focuses on regeneration of neotissues from cells with the support of biomaterials and growth factors. This interdisciplinary engineering has attracted much attention as a new therapeutic means that may overcome the drawbacks involved in the current artificial organs and organ transplantation that have been also aiming at replacing lost or severely damaged tissues or organs. However, the tissues regenerated by this tissue engineering and widely applied to patients are still very limited, including skin, bone, cartilage, capillary and periodontal tissues. What are the reasons for such slow advances in clinical applications of tissue engineering? This article gives the brief overview on the current tissue engineering, covering the fundamentals and applications. The fundamentals of tissue engineering involve the cell sources, scaffolds for cell expansion and differentiation and carriers for growth factors. Animal and human trials are the major part of the applications. Based on these results, some critical problems to be resolved for the advances of tissue engineering are addressed from the engineering point of view, emphasizing the close collaboration between medical doctors and biomaterials scientists.

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