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Tissue Engineering of the Musculoskeletal System

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Professor Ioannis Yannas is the Professor of Mechanical and Biological Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Work in his laboratory led to discovery in the period 1975-82 of the first methodology for inducing organ regeneration in adults (regenerative medicine). The methodology of regenerative medicine is currently based on grafting of scaffolds with regenerative activity at the site of a seriously injured organ in adults. An active scaffold blocks contraction at the injured site and directs synthesis of the injured stroma. Regeneration of epithelial tissues and basement membrane follows spontaneously after the stroma has been regenerated. Active scaffolds have so far been based on highly porous analogs of the extracellular matrix, possessing structural determinants of regenerative activity that have been identified. So far the adult organs that have been induced to regenerate partially include skin, the conjunctiva and peripheral nerves. Perfect regeneration has not been achieved. Similarities and differences between induced organ regeneration in adults and early foetal regeneration, which occurs spontaneously and appears to be perfect, have been detected. The paradigm of regenerative medicine has had its first clinically useful product with IntegraTM, approved by the FDA in 1996, a scaffold that is currently used to regenerate the dermis in patients with massive burns, patients undergoing plastic and reconstructive surgery of the skin, and patients with chronic skin ulcers.

This talk is part of the Cambridge Initiative For Musculoskeletal Tissue Engineering Inaugural Meeting series.

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