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Transplant Proc. 2011 Jul-Aug;43(6):2137-8. doi: 10.1016/j.transproceed.2011.05.014.

Bioengineering in organ transplantation: targeting the liver.

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Center for Innovative Regenerative Therapies, Department of Surgery, Transplantation Section, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pensylvania 15201, USA.


About 27,000 deaths are registered annually in the United States due to liver disease. At this time, the only definitive treatment of hepatic failure is orthotopic transplantation. However, there is a critical shortage of organs with the total waiting list for all organs currently at 100,000 requests. The number is increasing by 5% every year. Given that only organs in pristine condition are transplantable and that the hidden demand for organs as an anti-aging solution will be many times the current figures, orthotopic transplantation will always remain a limited pool. The increasing donor organ shortage requires consideration of alternative emerging technologies. Regenerative medicine may offer novel strategies to treat patients with end-stage organ failure. The ultimate aim of cell transplantation, tissue engineering, and stem cells is to regenerate tissues and organs. With the development of whole organ decellularization methods, the equation of organ shortage may dramatically change in the near future. Decellularized organs provide the ideal transplantable scaffold with all the necessary microstructure and extracellular cues for cell attachment, differentiation, vascularization, and function. New techniques to re-engineer organs may have major implications for the fields of drug discovery, regeneration biology, and ultimately organ transplantation. In this review we have provided an overview of complementary approaches to study and enhance the success of organ repopulation strategies creating new grafts/organs for transplantation.

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