Purpose-driven biomaterials research in liver-tissue engineering
Bottom-up engineering of microscale tissue (“microtissue”) constructs to recapitulate partially the complex structure–function relationships of liver parenchyma has been realized through the development of sophisticated biomaterial scaffolds, liver-cell sources, and in vitro culture techniques. With regard to in vivo applications, the long-lived stem/progenitor cell constructs can improve cell engraftment, whereas the short-lived, but highly functional hepatocyte constructs stimulate host liver regeneration. With regard to in vitro applications, microtissue constructs are being adapted or custom-engineered into cell-based assays for testing acute, chronic and idiosyncratic toxicities of drugs or pathogens. Systems-level methods and computational models that represent quantitative relationships between biomaterial scaffolds, cells and microtissue constructs will further enable their rational design for optimal integration into specific biomedical applications.
Journal: - Volume 29, Issue 3, March 2011, Pages 110–118