Dramatic advances in the fields of biochemistry, cell and molecular biology, genetics, biomedical engineering and materials science have given rise to the remarkable new cross-disciplinary field of tissue engineering. Tissue engineering uses synthetic or naturally derived, engineered biomaterials to replace damaged or defective tissues, such as bone, skin, and even organs.
When biologist Barbara Boyan discovered science’s first proof of biochemical differences between male and female cartilage cells, she began to question the approaches she and other researchers were taking to study cells. Was their thinking biologically relevant?
Pathbreaking developments in tissue engineering and regenerative therapies are facilitating the design and growth of new organs in labs using biopolymer scaffolds and matrices. Analysis of potential markets for tissue engineering reveals that basic problems such as vascularity must be solved before such implants can gain acceptance as standard treatment methods.
Johns Hopkins University researchers have created a new class of artificial proteins that can assemble themselves into a gel and encourage the growth of selected cell types. This biomaterial, which can be tailored to send different biological signals to cells, is expected to help scientists who are developing new ways to repair injured or diseased body parts.
Scientists at the University of Toronto are taking regenerative medicine to a new dimension with a process for guiding nerve cells that could someday help reconnect severed nerve endings.