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Fetal Diagn Ther. 2015;37(3):197-205. doi: 10.1159/000362931. Epub 2014 Jul 19.

Tissue engineering strategies for fetal myelomeningocele repair in animal models.

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Department of Surgery, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., USA.


Myelomeningocele (MMC), the most severe form of spina bifida, is a common and devastating malformation. Over two decades of experimental work in animal models have led to the development and clinical application of open fetal surgery for the repair of the MMC defect. This approach offers improved neurofunctional outcomes and is now a clinical option for the management of prenatally diagnosed MMC in selected patients. However, there are still opportunities for further improvement in the prenatal treatment of MMC. A less invasive approach would allow for an application earlier in gestation, with a reduction in maternal and fetal risks and the potential for reduced neurological injury. Tissue engineering offers a realistic and appealing alternative approach for the prenatal treatment of MMC. This review discusses the rationale for tissue engineering in MMC, addresses recent experimental progress and describes potential future directions.

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