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What is Tissue Engineering

April 26, 2017


Tissue engineering is the process of combination of cells, tissues, and Tissue Engineeringengineering with physicochemical and biochemical factors to replace and rectify biological tissues. The tissues in question here are bone cartilage, bladder, muscle, skin, blood vessels etc. The process is also known as regenerative medicine.

Examples

  • Bioartificial windpipe- organ regenerated at lab.
  • In vitro meat- in vitro cultured edible animal muscle tissue
  • Bioartificial liver device- assists liver function by utilizing liver cells.
  • Artificial pancreas – research is being done to artificially grow islets of Langerhans cells to produce and regulate insulin in the body and treat diabetes.
  • Artificial bladders: researchers at Wake Forest University has successfully implanted lab grown bladder.
  • Cartilage- lab grown and successfully used to repair knee cartilage
  • Artificial bone and bone marrow
  • Oral mucosa tissue engineering
  • Artificial heart- Doris Taylor and her team has created artificial beating heart in lab.
  • Foreskin and lab grown penis
  • Artificial skin- produced in lab from original human skin and used for burn repairs.
  • Artificial production of scaffold free cartilage

Method of tissue engineering- Cells make up tissue and tissues make up body structures. The tissues also secrete and make their own support structures called extracellular matrix (scaffold) which relays signals from various sources to the cells and the cells in turn respond to these stimuli. Now by understanding and modifying these stimuli and relay mechanisms of the extracellular matrix, damaged cells can not only be repaired but also created.

A scaffold is created from various organic and inorganic sources like proteins and plastics. To it cells along with growth factors are added and allowed to grow. In the right environment, the tissues develop. In another way, the cells of a donor organ are removed and new tissue is grown in the remaining collagen scaffold. This process is used to create heart, lung, liver and kidney tissues.

Disclaimer: The information given in this write-up is purely for educating the reader. It is not meant to be a substitute for any advice from a medical expert.