Tissue engineering of reproductive tissues and organs
Regenerative medicine and tissue engineering technology may soon offer new hope for patients with serious injuries and end-stage reproductive organ failure. Scientists are now applying the principles of cell transplantation, material science, and bioengineering to construct biological substitutes that can restore and maintain normal function in diseased and injured reproductive tissues. In addition, the stem cell field is advancing, and new discoveries in this field will lead to new therapeutic strategies. For example, newly discovered types of stem cells have been retrieved from uterine tissues such as amniotic fluid and placental stem cells. The process of therapeutic cloning and the creation of induced pluripotent cells provide still other potential sources of stem cells for cell-based tissue engineering applications. Although stem cells are still in the research phase, some therapies arising from tissue engineering endeavors that make use of autologous adult cells have already entered the clinic. This article discusses these tissue engineering strategies for various organs in the male and female reproductive tract.