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Tissue engineering — pros and cons

      Tissue engineering has been used for several years in limited cases of tissue regeneration. It is a fascinating way to produce living ‘spare parts’ for patients who have lost an important tissue or part of it. However, safety aspects need to be studied carefully.
      In regenerative medicine, which a branch of translational medicine, the aim in general is to replace degenerated or damaged tissues by combining stem cells, biomaterials and physiochemical factors, such as growth factors. Therefore, all these factors need to be safe as such and as a combination to produce safe spare parts for patients in need.
      In maxillofacial area, only few studies have been published on this topic. At the time, at least tissue engineered oral mucosa and bone in the craniomaxillofacial skeleton have been used in clinical settings. They are demanding to manufacture and very expensive at the moment as the process is very labour-intensive.
      The main risks in tissue engineering are tumourigenity, graft rejection, immunogenity and cell migration. The aim of our research group is to understand the risks, how to minimise them and, especially, how to predict and prevent them. In this presentation current status of craniomaxillofacial tissue engineering will be shown, with a few glimpses to the history and a few prospects to the future.
      The current results of our group will be presented as well.