Tissue-engineered airway and “in situ tissue engineering”
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- Nakamura, T., Ohmori, K. & Kanemaru, S. Gen Thorac Cardiovasc Surg (2011) 59: 91. doi:10.1007/s11748-010-0677-9
Since the 1980s, tissue engineering has become one of the major areas of endeavor in medical research, applying the principles of biology and engineering to the development of functional substitutes for damaged tissue. Using this technology, various attempts have been made to create and apply a tissue-engineered prosthetic trachea, or airway. In addition to the conventional tissue engineering approach, a new substantially different concept has been advocated in Japan since 2000. This is “in situ tissue engineering,” where a tissue is created not in vitro but in vivo, exploiting the potential of the living body for wound healing. An artificial trachea created by in situ tissue engineering has already been applied in human patients for reconstruction of airway defects, and promising results have been obtained. This article reviews recent progress in the relatively new field of airway reconstruction employing tissue engineering.