Growing New Body Parts

TUE, MAY 3, 2005 (1:08:51)

Tissue engineering involves the application of the principles and methods of engineering and the life sciences towards the development of biological substitutes to restore, maintain, or improve functions of tissues or organs. It is expected that engineered tissues can help address the growing problem of tissue and organ failure by implanting tissue substitutes grown in the laboratory that can provide immediate function and integrate with surrounding host issues.

The field relies on an interdisciplinary approach to solve complex tissue and organ problems in the laboratory. Teams of engineers, biologists and clinicians are essential to the successful engineering of these systems. Requirements for tissue engineering generally include a cell source (often stem cells), biomaterial scaffolds (the structures upon which the cells will stick, grow and produce new tissue) and a bioreactor (laboratory environment designed to mimic some of the conditions present during normal tissue development).

With the advanced systems we now have, tissues similar to those in our body can be generated in the laboratory. As a result of active research in the area, new opportunities become available, including the repair and replacement of damaged or diseased tissues in the body, the use of these tissues for the study of disease formation and progression (such as cancer), and therapeutic treatments (such as to identify new drugs). We have prepared a set of four presentations to illustrate some of the exciting opportunities that tissue engineering offers to clinical medicine.

+ BIO: David Scadden

David T. Scadden received his M.D. degree from Case Western Reserve School of Medicine. Following his internship and residency at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, he completed a Clinical Fellowship in Medicine and in Hematology/Oncology at the Harvard Medical School, the Brigham and Women's Hospital, and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Subsequently, he was a Research Fellow at these institutions working with James M. Cunningham and later at the New England Medical Center working with Robert S. Schwartz and John M. Coffin. He joined the faculty at Harvard University as an Instructor and is presently Professor of Medicine at the Harvard Medical School and Director of the Center of Regenerative Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Dr. Scadden's research interests are focused on the bone marrow and stem cell biology. He is particularly interested in the regulation of entry and exit from the cell cycle, as this has important implications for expansion of stem cells and gene transduction. He is also interested in the regulation of stem cell localization to and within specific microenvironments and the interactions of stem cells with elements of the microenvironmental niche. These studies are critically important in understanding how stem cells develop and how they may function in regenerative processes in many organs.

His work has been published in many outstanding journals including Nature, Nature Medicine, Science, Nature Biotechnology, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA, the Journal of Clinical Investigation, and the Journal of Immunology and Blood. He has received many honors, including elected membership in the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians. He serves on the editorial boards for many journals including Blood, Stem Cells, and Experimental Hematology, and he is an Associate Editor for Blood.

+ BIO: Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic

Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic received her Ph.D in chemical engineering from the University of Belgrade, Serbia in 1980. She is currently a professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Columbia University. She also serves as the director of the Laboratory for Stem Cell and Tissue Engineering at Columbia.

Professor Vunjak-Novakovich has also taught at Tufts University and the University of Belgrade, as well as work as a research Scientist at MIT.

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Museum of Science, Boston
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Cambridge Science Festival: Innovations Series