Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine


Natural Fibrous Polymers for Tissue Engineering

Thais Sayuri Iguma, Sonia Maria Malmonge, Arnaldo R. Santos Jr

As life expectancy grows, many age-related diseases are becoming increasingly evident such as osteoporosis, diabetes or cardiovascular disorders. Not only that, some studies are also pointing up an increase of road accidents and trauma injuries boosting the implants market. Many techniques have been developed in order to repair damaged organs, and Tissue Engineering (TE) is a promising one. In order to reduce the dependence on transplanted tissues and organs, TE combines the field of life science with engineering by developing a 3D template (scaffold) which temporarily mimics an extracellular matrix (ECM) and provides a support for cells to grow and proliferate with the right stimuli (signals). Not only may the source of the cells and signals vary, but also the scaffold itself. Depending on the purpose, there are many possibilities in which the scaffold can be designed: ceramic materials, synthetic or natural polymers with a vast range of architecture. Creating a system as similar as possible to ECM is advantageous for the cells, for this reason fibrous structures and natural polymers, such as collagen and gelatin, are outstanding regarding TE.

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