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Il Giornale di Chirurgia

Tissue engineering: technological advances to improve its applications in reconstructive surgery

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Abstract
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Background. Tremendous advances in biomaterials science and nanotechnologies, together with thorough research on stem cells, have recently promoted an intriguing development of regenerative medicine/tissue engineering. The nanotechnology represents a wide interdisciplinary field that implies the manipulation of different materials at nanometer level to achieve the creation of constructs that mimic the nanoscale-based architecture of native tissues.
Aim. The purpose of this article is to highlight the significant new knowledges regarding this matter.
Emerging acquisitions. To widen the range of scaffold materials resort has been carried out to either recombinant DNA technology-generated materials, such as a collagen-like protein, or the incorporation of bioactive molecules, such as RDG (arginine-glycine-aspartic acid), into synthetic products. Both the bottom-up and the top-down fabrication approaches may be properly used to respectively obtain sopramolecular architectures or, instead, micro-/nanostructures to incorporate them within a preexisting complex scaffold construct. Computer-aided design/manufacturing (CAD/CAM) scaffold technique allows to achieve patient-tailored organs. Stem cells, because of their peculiar properties - ability to proliferate, self-renew and specific cell-lineage differentiate under appropriate conditions - represent an attractive source for intriguing tissue engineering/regenerative medicine applications.
Future research activities. New developments in the realization of different organs tissue engineering will depend on further progress of both the science of nanoscale-based materials and the knowledge of stem cell biology. Moreover the in vivo tissue engineering appears to be the logical step of the current research.

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