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Tissue engineering and regenerative medicine -where do we stand?

Raymund E Horch, Ulrich Kneser, Elias Polykandriotis, Volker J Schmidt, Jiaming Sun, Andreas Arkudas
Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine 2012, 16 (6): 1157-65
Tissue Engineering (TE) in the context of Regenerative Medicine (RM) has been hailed for many years as one of the most important topics in medicine in the twenty-first century. While the first clinically relevant TE efforts were mainly concerned with the generation of bioengineered skin substitutes, subsequently TE applications have been continuously extended to a wide variety of tissues and organs. The advent of either embryonic or mesenchymal adult stem-cell technology has fostered many of the efforts to combine this promising tool with TE approaches and has merged the field into the term Regenerative Medicine. As a typical example in translational medicine, the discovery of a new type of cells called Telocytes that have been described in many organs and have been detected by electron microscopy opens another gate to RM. Besides cell-therapy strategies, the application of gene therapy combined with TE has been investigated to generate tissues and organs. The vascularization of constructs plays a crucial role besides the matrix and cell substitutes. Therefore, novel in vivo models of vascularization have evolved allowing axial vascularization with subsequent transplantation of constructs. This article is intended to give an overview over some of the most recent developments and possible applications in RM through the perspective of TE achievements and cellular research. The synthesis of TE with innovative methods of molecular biology and stem-cell technology appears to be very promising.

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