The Lancet Features Tissue Engineering Work of Dr. Stephen Badylak
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine deputy director Stephen Badylak, DVM, PhD, MD, professor in the Department of Surgery, University of Pittsburgh, and director of the Center for Pre-Clinical Tissue Engineering within the McGowan Institute, is a member of a team of researchers involved in the study entitled “Engineered whole organs and complex tissues” which was published in The Lancet. The other authors of this featured series paper are:
- Paolo Macchiarini, MD, PhD, head and chairman of the Hospital Clínic (Barcelona Metro) de Barcelona, University of Barcelona in Barcelona, Spain, as well as professor of surgery at the University of Barcelona in Spain and at the Hannover Medical School in Hannover, Germany, and director, Advanced Center of Translational Regenerative Medicine, Stockholm, Sweden
- Daniel Weiss MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine, University of Vermont College of Medicine, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Vermont Lung Center , and associate professor, Cell and Molecular Biology, University of Vermont, Burlington
- Arthur Caplan PhD, Emmanuel and Robert Hart Director of the Center for Bioethics and the Sydney D. Caplan Professor of Bioethics, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Stem cells are widely researched for their therapeutic use. An important potential application of human stem cells, through a more complete understanding of the genetic and molecular controls of cell division and differentiation, is the generation of cells and tissues that could be used for tissue engineering and cell-based therapies. Stem cells technology could be used in the future to produce new tissues and even new organs without the need for transplantation. Per the principles of regenerative medicine, there are 3 key components necessary for the tissue engineering of either a tissue or an organ: a scaffold, cells, and a bioreactor (the scaffold and cells are combined here). Although the science of tissue engineering has made great strides, there are still many scientific challenges and ethical issues which must be addressed. In their paper, Drs. Badylak, Macchiarini, Weiss, and Caplan explain:
End-stage organ failure is a key challenge for the medical community because of the ageing population and the severe shortage of suitable donor organs available. Equally, injuries to or congenital absence of complex tissues such as the trachea, esophagus, or skeletal muscle have few therapeutic options. A new approach to treatment involves the use of three-dimensional biological scaffolds made of allogeneic or xenogeneic extracellular matrix derived from non-autologous sources. These scaffolds can act as an inductive template for functional tissue and organ reconstruction after recellularization with autologous stem cells or differentiated cells. Such an approach has been used successfully for the repair and reconstruction of several complex tissues such as trachea, esophagus, and skeletal muscle in animal models and human beings, and, guided by appropriate scientific and ethical oversight, could serve as a platform for the engineering of whole organs and other tissues.
Abstract (Engineered whole organs and complex tissues. Stephen F Badylak MD, Daniel J Weiss MD, Arthur Caplan PhD, Paolo Macchiarini MD. The Lancet, Volume 379, Issue 9819, Pages 943 – 952, 10 March 2012.)