The human body has a limited ability to correctly auto-regenerate most of its major tissues and organs following trauma event, congenital abnormalities or degenerative diseases. Serious damage of original tissue integrity may leed to tissue dysfunction with devastating consequences.
Tissue engineering (TE) is an interdisciplinary field that applies principles of engineering and life sciences. TE approach combines biomaterial scaffolds, patients´ (stem) cells and biomolecules with the aim to maintain or improve injured tissues or even whole organs. Although a wide variety of therapeutic strategies based on different types of biomaterials and cells have been and are still being explored, in practice, TE is not an easily accessible approach to achieve regeneration in a clinical setting.
Biomaterials play a pivotal role in the success of tissue engineering. The goal of biomaterial design is to fabricate a scaffold that is innately able (or has been engineered) to assume a desirable form which can provide a 3D cellular microenvironment for cell accommodation and guide new tissue formation. The material should be able to maintain its structure and integrity for predictable periods of time to ensure new tissue formation and maturation, even under load-bearing circumstances.
Therapeutic biomaterials can be classified into two main categories: (I) material of animal or human origin; and (II) other materials, including materials from plant sources and synthetic materials and their composites.
The investigational work performed by FibreNet ESR on porous polysaccharide biomaterials might result in a promising biocompatible and bioactive scaffold for tissue regeneration in the future clinical treatments.
Figure: Chondrocytes in alginate hydorgel.
Ariana Barlič, PhD
Head of R&D, Educell Ltd.