Tissue Engineering and Stem Cell Research
Congenital or acquired surgical conditions are associated to high morbidity and mortality, and most of the time functional replacement of the missing or damaged organ remains an unmet clinical need. Regenerative medicine has recently been established as an emerging interdisciplinary field focused on the repair, replacement, or regeneration of cells, tissues, or organs. So far, there has been success in the production and surgical replacement of organs such as the urethra, bladder, and trachea.
While regenerative medicine encompasses a number of different disciplines, when it is aimed toward organogenesis, the important components are appropriate cells and an appropriate scaffold. The employment of induced pluripotent cells may overcome the use of immunosuppression associated with embryonic stem cells. Moreover, amniotic fluid stem cells may be specifically relevant to the cure of congenital malformation and reduce the hazards associated with pluripotent cells such as tumorigenesis, rejection, difficulty in isolation, and ethical issues. Research on scaffold-cell interaction has indicated that beyond the need for suitable biomechanical properties and micro-architecture, an optimal scaffold must support cell-matrix signaling; decellularized scaffolds may hold an advantage toward this.
The success obtained so far in transplanting tissue-engineered structures has paved the way for the regeneration of more complex and solid organs. Herein, regenerative medicine could represent a valid solution to the shortage of donors for organ transplantation.
KeywordsRegenerative medicine Stem cell Congenital malformation Tissue engineering Transplantation Organ decellularization
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