, Volume 26, Issue 6, pp 557-573
Date: 24 Mar 2010

Tissue engineering and regenerative medicine research perspectives for pediatric surgery

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Abstract

Tissue engineering and regenerative medicine research is being aggressively pursued in attempts to develop biological substitutes to replace lost tissue or organs. Remarkable degrees of success have been achieved in the generation of a variety of tissues and organs as a result of concerted contributions by multidisciplinary groups in the field of biotechnology. Engineering of an organ is a complex process which is initiated by appropriate sourcing of cells and their controlled proliferation to achieve critical numbers for seeding on biodegradable scaffolds in order to create cell-scaffold constructs, which are thereafter maintained in bioreactors to generate tissues identical to those required for replacement. Extensive efforts in understanding the characteristics of cells and their interaction with specifically tailored scaffolds holds the key to their attachment, controlled proliferation and differentiation, intercommunication, and organization to form tissues. The demand for tissue-engineered organs is enormous and this technology holds the promise to supply customized organs to overcome the severe shortages that are currently faced by the pediatric patient, especially due to organ-size mismatch. The contemporary state of tissue-engineering technology presented in this review summarizes the advances in the various areas of regenerative medicine and addresses issues that are associated with its future implementation in the pediatric surgical patient.