Tissue engineering has been an active field of research for several decades now. However, the number of successful clinical applications in the field of tissue engineering are limited and can mainly be found in thin or avascular tissues like skin and cartilage. One of the current limitations of tissue engineering is the inability to provide sufficient blood supply in the initial phase after implantation. Insufficient vascularization after implantation can result in nutrient limitations, which can result in suboptimal integration of, and cell death in tissue engineered constructs. Several strategies to improve vascularization after implantation have been studied in the past. These include angiogenic growth factor delivery, scaffold design to facilitate angiogenesis, and in vivo prevascularization. This thesis explores a relatively new method to improve vascularization; in vitro prevascularization. The rationale of this method is that endothelial cells can form a prevascular network in another tissue during in vitro culture. After implantation of the resulting construct, the prevascular network can anastomose to the vasculature of the host and thus become a functional, perfused vascular network that provides the construct with nutrients. This will result in a faster vascularization and thus a better survival of the implant.
|Award date||27 Sep 2007|
|Publication status||Published - 27 Sep 2007|