Tissue engineering is a set of methods that can replace or repair damaged or diseased tissues with natural, synthetic, or semisynthetic tissue mimics. These mimics can either be fully functional or will grow into the required functionality. 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.
Tissue engineering evolved from the field of biomaterials development and refers to the practice of combining scaffolds, cells, and biologically active molecules into functional tissues. The goal of tissue engineering
is to assemble functional constructs that restore, maintain, or improve damaged tissues or whole organs. Artificial skin
and cartilage are examples of engineered tissues that have been approved by the FDA; however, currently they have limited use in human patients. Cells
are the building blocks of tissue, and tissues are the basic unit of function in the body. Generally, groups of cells
make and secrete their own support structures, called extra-cellular matrix. This matrix, or scaffold, does more than just support the cells; it also acts as a relay station for various signaling molecules.
Relevant Topics in General Science