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Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2006 Oct;17(5):524-31. Epub 2006 Sep 15.

Engineering tissues for in vitro applications.

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Harvard MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology/Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, E19-502D, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.


Engineered tissues can be employed for studies on the fundamental mechanisms of embryology and adult physiology and for investigating the evolution of disease processes. They also provide platforms to evaluate the behavior of new chemical entities in drug development. The recent development of three specific technologies has greatly facilitated the engineering of tissues for in vitro applications: the microfabrication tools that serve to both define the cellular microenvironment and enable parallelization of cell-based assays; synthetic, tunable hydrogels to create three-dimensional microenvironments; and bioreactors to control nutrient transport and fluid shear stress. Furthermore, convergence of these tools is providing investigators with the opportunity to construct and study tissues in vitro with unprecedented levels of sophistication.

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