Synthetic extracellular matrices for tissue engineering and regeneration

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The need for replacement tissues or organs requires a tissue supply that cannot be satisfied by the donor supply. The tissue engineering and regeneration field is focused on the development of biological tissue and organ substitutes and may provide functional tissues to restore, maintain, or improve tissue formation. This field is already providing new therapeutic options to bypass the limitations of organ?tissue transplantation and will likely increase in medical importance in the future. This interdisciplinary field accommodates principles of life sciences and engineering and encompasses three major strategies. The first, guided tissue regeneration, relies on synthetic matrices that are conductive to host cells populating a tissue defect site and reforming the lost tissue. The second approach, inductive strategy, involves the delivery of growth factors, typically using drug delivery strategies, which are targeted to specific cell populations in the tissues surrounding the tissue defect. In the third approach, specific cell populations, typically multiplied in culture, are directly delivered to the site at which one desires to create a new tissue or organ. In all of these approaches, the knowledge acquired from developmental studies often serves as a template for the tissue engineering approach for a specific tissue or organ. This article overviews the development of synthetic extracellular matrices (ECMs) for use in tissue engineering that aim to mimic functions of the native ECM of developing and regenerating tissues. In addition to the potential therapeutic uses of these materials, they also provide model systems for basic studies that may shed light on developmental processes.
Last updated on 09/29/2017