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term "tissue engineering" was coined at an NSF-sponsored meeting in
At a later NSF-sponsored workshop, tissue engineering was defined as "...the
application of principles and methods of engineering and life sciences
toward fundamental understanding ...and development
of biological substitutes to restore, maintain and improve [human] tissue
definition is intended to include procedures where the biological substitutes
are cells or combinations of different cells that may be implanted on
a scaffold such as natural collagen or as synthetic, biocompatible polymers
to form a tissue.
tissue engineering inventions are now in medical use. These include skin
tissue replacement for ulcerations and a scaffold that allows the slow
release of an anticancer agent to combat a form of brain cancer.
NSF-funded research efforts continue with the work for skin replacement,
drug delivery and basic studies for understanding the cell-to-tissue process.
Tissue engineering includes the use of this technology for other medical
applications, such as gene therapy, as well as the study of how cells
interact and communicate.
A tissue-engineered liver, developed with support from NSF, is also under
clinical evaluation. NSFs support of tissue engineering continues.
With tissue engineering now becoming a commercial venture, private industry
has become heavily involved, especially with skin replacement, drug delivery
and other potential applications.
Other federal government agencies, such as the National Institutes of
Health (NIH), NIST, NASA, DARPA and the DOE now have active tissue engineering