What is Tissue Engineering?
Tissue Engineering is the study of the growth of new connective tissues, or organs, from cells and a collagenous scaffold to produce a fully functional organ for implantation back into the donor host. This technique will allow organs to be grown from implantation (rather than transplantation) and hence free from imunological rejection. The starting point for any tissue-engineered organ is the harvesting of small amounts of tissue from the future recipient of the Tissue Engineered organ. This could be as small as a 2mm punch biopsy for some applications.
Cells from the biopsy are then cultured from explants or a collagenase digestion to create a “cell bank”. These cells are then further cultured on collagenoussubstrates, under the correct physiological conditions, to form Tissue Engineered constructs for implantation. The process is carried out in a Tissue Culture facility to maintain a sterile environment. Cellular biochemical and physical activity can be enhanced by the addition of growth factors or cytokines, also by the use of physical stimulation. The tensioning-Culture Force Monitor applies minute physical loads to stimulate the resident cell population in the collagenous scaffold into bio-chemical and bio-physical activity normally associated with organogenesis and tissue repair. After further tissue culture under the correct conditions, the resident cells in the Tissue Engineered construct will disolve the original collagen scaffold and secrete a new collagen rich neo-tissue, the construct can then be implanted back into the patient from whom the cells were originally removed. This science will remove the necessity for anti-rejection drugs as the living tissue engineered construct has been grown from the patients own cells, and will be accepted as a natural part of the patients body.