Much effort is expended in developing biomimetic scaffolds that provide the micro-architecture of native tissue with appropriate cellular niches. Such scaffolds are often seeded with progenitor cells to generate engineered replacements for diseased or damaged tissues. An alternative approach relies on biology, rather than technology, to provide scaffolds containing progenitor cells in authentic niches. This article describes the use of accessible living tissues containing endogenous progenitor cells in their native, physiological environments. Such tissues also possess scaffolding properties, and can be readily harvested, manipulated and returned to the patient intra-operatively to facilitate repair and regeneration. Our group has explored the in situ genetic manipulation of cells within these tissues before they are reimplanted, although other means of modulation are certainly possible. Examples of suitable donor tissues include marrow, skeletal muscle and fat. In the case of marrow, clotting produces a moldable, autologous fibrin matrix containing endogenous cells; if necessary, exogenous cells can be added prior to clotting. These approaches have been studied experimentally in orthopaedic contexts, particularly for the healing and regeneration of bone and cartilage.
- Facilitated endogenous repair
- Gene transfer
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering