PerspectiveTissue Engineering

Building Vascular Networks

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Science Translational Medicine  14 Nov 2012:
Vol. 4, Issue 160, pp. 160ps23
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3003688

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Only a few engineered tissues—skin, cartilage, bladder—have achieved clinical success, and biomaterials designed to replace more complex organs are still far from commercial availability. This gap exists in part because biomaterials lack a vascular network to transfer the oxygen and nutrients necessary for survival and integration after transplantation. Thus, generation of a functional vasculature is essential to the clinical success of engineered tissue constructs and remains a key challenge for regenerative medicine. In this Perspective, we discuss recent advances in vascularization of biomaterials through the use of biochemical modification, exogenous cells, or microengineering technology.

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