College 1 – “An introduction to Tissue Engineering” – 22nd of November 2012

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Summary Tissue Engineering

College 1 – “An introduction to Tissue Engineering” – 22nd of November 2012

There are many definitions of tissue engineering:
(the central subject is functionality)

  • “Tissue Engineering is a field that supplies the principles of engineering and the the life sciendes towards the development of biological substitutes that restore, maintain or improve tissue function”
    Pittsburgh Tissue Engineering Initiative
    The tissue we want to repair are almost always in a mechanical system with a function.

  • “Persuading the body to heal itself by the delivery of molecular signals, new cells and and supporting structures”
    Professor David Williams
    Extra cellular matrix structure is made by cells, that gives it function.

  • It is an imitation of morphogenesis and development.
    Morphogenesis literally means the "beginning of the shape". It is the biological process that causes an organism to develop its shape.

  • “Developmental cascade of pattern formation , establishment of body plan and architecture of mirror-image bilateral symmetry of many structures and asymmetry of some, culminating in the adult form”
    Reddy H. Tissue Engineering (embryologist)
    If we can replicate in utero, we can make the right environment for for example woundhealing.

  • Morphogens are inductive signals that initiate and govern tissue morphogenesis, based on tissue interactions that are dynamic and reciprocol.

  • Stem cells are primordial progenitors with enormous potential.
    Regenerative medicin will mean the implementation of stem cells.

  • Biomaterial scaffolds to mimic ECM.
    On basis of human ECM, so it will not be toxic. When it will break down the waist material will not be toxic either. Ideal would be not a fast degrading scaffold, but one which takes some time to degrade. This means the waist material is not in big amounts present.

  • “Cell Engineering is a field that supplies the principles of engineering to living processes within cells”
    On basis of the biochemistry of cells.

  • “Cells are the enablers of change”
    R. Nerem
    Biology is producing technology.

  • “Biology will define scientific progress in the 21st Century”
    Business Week
    When producing a new part the surgeons should be involved in an early stage. Especially older surgeons are not wanting to change.

Biomaterial industry is segmented into:

  • Artifical organs

  • Biosensors
    Measure the biomarkers in tissue to know the health of the tissue.

  • Biotechnology

  • Commodity and disposables

  • Drug delivery/ hybrid artificial organs
    Biodegradable coatings
    The materials used in the industry are metals, polymers and ceramics.
    There are 6 classes of biometals, the corrosion properties of these metals are very important.

  • Maxiliofacial / dental / ENT/ cranial
    Dental product are often used for experimenting, since you can clearly see what happens.
    Relating to or involving the maxilla and the face.

  • Opthalmology
    Ophthalmology is the branch of medicine that deals with the anatomy, physiology and diseases of the eye.

  • Orthopeadics

  • Packaging

  • Tissue engineering

  • Wound healing

Basis underlying conditions that warrant a treatment regime:

  1. Gross congenital defects with functional consequences e.g. heart defect, hydrocephalus (enormous pressure in the head, solution: catheter)
     People who are born with things which do not function properly.

  2. Developmental defects with functional consequences e.g. scoliosis.
     solved putting a force on the spine to straighten it.

  3. Organic disease leading to body malfunctions e.g. osteoarthritis, arteriosclerosis.

  4. Tumours necessitating tissue resection and reconstruction
     The tumour is cut out and replace with other tissue.

  5. Tissue atrophy e.g. alveor ridge resorption.

  6. Trauma requiring replacement of tendon e.g. tendon or temporary support e.g. fracture fixation.
    Fracture is associated with mechanical loading. While the bone is fracture the pin will bear the mechanical load.

  7. Psychological conditions e.g. rejection of dentures

  8. The desire for an abnormal situation e.g. fertility control

Functions of major prostheses:

  1. Load transmission e.g. fracture fixation devices, tendon/ ligament replacements, dental implants.

  2. As a bearing surface e.g. total joint replacement, chondral . osteochondral defects.
     For example with cartilage breakdown.
    The solution will need to be able to move between the parts.

  3. For the control of fluid flow

    1. To simulated normal physiological conditions, such as heart and vascular prostheses, urethral replacements.

    2. In the abnormal saturation, such as ventricular catheter valves used for the control of cerebrospinal fluid.

  4. For passive space filling e.g. cosmetic surgery, rhinoplasty

  5. For space filling for functional reasons e.g. cranial plates to protect the brain from further damage.

  6. The generation and application of external stimuli e.g. cardiac pacemakers, specific neuromuscular electrodes.
     Works with the pacemaker
    When the spine is injured it can be used to stimulate the muscles electrodes (ethics).

  7. Transmission of light – intra ocular prostheses

  8. Transmission of sound – ossicular replacement materials



  • Non-toxic

  • Traditionally, bioinert/ biostable materials were employed with a minimal host tissue reaction. This will lead to encapsulation of implant
     Corrosion: The local damage is what you think of a first, but the toxic material will go into the lymph-system where they will eventually cause a inflammation.

  • Development of bioactive and biodegradable materials were employed with controlled reactions.
     Designed to interact with the body
    the implant will just react at the site and then start to break down.

  • Some biomaterials form chemical bonds with tissues stabilising the implant e.g. Hydroxyapatite or Tricalcium phosphate coating.
     These will chemically bond with local bone, but is very brittle when the whole implant is made of it.

  • Some biomaterial resorption is acceptable in the body when implant is no longer required e.g. PLLA sutures, drug delivery capsules.
     Often made of lactate, when the degradation rate is too fast the pH will drop.


The biomaterial will react, there no such thing as an inert biomaterial.

The reaction will happen at the surface from the implant, so the surface material is important.
(Corrosion will give a surface reaction)


1. Response of biomaterial
2. Response of host environment

Material selection based on several consideration:

  • There is biocompatibility between the material and its environment.

  • There is compatibility between the mechanical and physical properties of the two systems.

  • There are fabrication methods available. This must take into account material cost, storage and sterilization possibility.
     Sterilization an change the product.

  • There is reproducibility & quality control of materials
     For the industry this means when something goes wrong there will be legal issues.

 When R­implant>>Rbiological the cell will degrade and die eventually. Since polymers have a more similar Young’s modulus to the body than metals, polymers will be a better implant.

Implant structure

  1. It must be surgically convenient to use
     e.g. The top/bottom of an implant, what are the issues of surgeons? Involve them with the development!

  2. It may be capable of fixation

  3. It should minimise trauma in surrounding tissues
     It should not destroys not destroy healthy tissue while implanting.

  4. It should be radio graphically visible or MRI

  5. It should meet specific functional requirements e.g. non-turbulent blood flow through valves.

  6. Ideally the implant would have a lifetime comparable to that of the patient.

Performance of the implant will depend of material design, implant shape, biomechanical factors, tissue respons/adaptation, the healthy/condition of the patient, the effectiveness of clinical procedure.

Implant production

The time it takes from concept to patient is over 10 years. While developing there is no money coming in, you need a business. It is important that there is enough market for the product (message: you create a device and you match it to the unmet need). Investors are profit driven!
Ethical issues are important to think about.

Host tissue can respond in different ways:

  1. Accute (inflammation and remodelling processes)

  2. Chronic response (undesirable)

  3. Chronic response – adaption (desirable)
     after 1 year the tissue can either fail or improve the current condition.

  • Mechanical response
     the mechanical response will change all the time.

  • Host response

    • In vitro testing
      (simulated body fluids, cell cultures)

    • In vivo testing
      (Animal testing, clinical trials)
       animal testing (is the animal big enough?)

Biomaterials implants:

  • Total joint replacement
     usually older patients since it has a life time of max. 15 years. The functionality is limited, you are not able to jog.

  • Large blood vessel
     Made with Teflon and keflon, blood vessels of more than 6 mm diameter.

  • Small blood vessel
     Not yet able to make good replicas, since there is too much interaction (surface-volume ratio is bigger).

  • To stimulate growth  growth factor.

Tissue engineering:

Possible with the following disciplines:

  • Discovery of biological revolution

  • Cell technology

  • Construct technology

  • Integration into living systems

  • Clinical application

The development of tissue engineering:

In 2000 tissue engineering was a very sexy industry. It was a hype, everyone was optimistic.

In 2004 the hype had dropped, the companies had overstretched themselves.
The smaller companies had build up a bigger companies, which had fell into smaller companies.
The bigger pharmaceutical companies watched what happened, but were not willing to save them (the biological components are too unpredictable).
Therefore after 2004 companies much more realistic in terms of their expectations

In 2008 another peak after that it became a more stable industry.

  1. A question on the exam:
    What were the problems leading to it? How will this progress?

Companies tissue engineering

Skin – HUFFs (Human Foresin Fibroblasts):
 Younger cells will give more active fibroblasts.
 One company: patient cells are intergrated in the designed tissue.

 autologous chondrocytes
 banked allogenid chondrocytes

Patch can be done over the defect and an injection with stem cells.

Goals of tissue engineering:

  1. Fabricating living tissue equivalents

  2. Developing materials which promote remodelling

  3. Re-surfacing non-biological materials

  4. Growing 3D-structures

  5. Developing vehicles for the introduction of genetically manipulated cells
     scaffold techniques

Pro’s of tissue engineering:

  • Avoids surgery

  • Allows replacement of only those cells with the required function

  • Permits manipulation of cells before infusion

Cons of tissue engineering:

  • Failure of infused cells to maintain their function in the recipient
    (not changing the phenotype, although you push them into something)

  • Immunological reaction
     Problem with allergenetic cells can be rejected.

Tissue inducing substances

  • Purification of appropriate signal molecules such as growth factors
     allow host cells to produce their own tissue

  • Large-scale production of signal molecules

  • Development of methods to target molecules

Cells seeded on/in scaffolds

  • Open or closed system

  • Natural materials

  • Immunological acceptance with the use of:

Should we use cells from the patient or a cell bank?
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