Healthy tissue can be “grown” to replace malfunctioning tissue in a range of diseases, write Shiba Sinha and colleagues
Imagine patients with peripheral arterial disease who do not have to face the prospect of amputation because they can receive a vascular graft created from their own cells. Or imagine children undergoing heart surgery who do not have to face a lifetime of operations or the risks from synthetic heart valves because they can receive a valve made from their own cells, which can grow with them. These scenarios may sound like science fiction, but they are becoming increasingly realistic options for treatment thanks to tissue engineering.
Every day healthcare professionals are faced with the devastating and expensive implications of the loss or failure of an organ or a tissue. Treatments include organ transplantation or the use of mechanical devices, all of which have well documented problems. Huge advances were made in the 20th century that allow the reconstitution of damaged and lost tissue through organ and tissue transplantation. But