Tissue engineering research at Sheffield is working towards a number of targets including skin, nerve, cartilage, bone, cornea, urethra and oral mucosa. These are important for clinical applications, as well as providing proof-of-concept for engineering more complex tissues.
Tissue engineering offers the means for replacing or repairing diseased or damaged organs within the patient’s body. Based on the patient’s own cells, engineered tissues should provide the clinician with the best possible materials for many surgical applications.
Focussed on practical tissue culture systems, research at Sheffield has led to the development of two skin repair products.
The continued development of functional tissues for clinical applications faces a number of significant obstacles. Scientifically we need to control cell development so that properly differentiated tissues can be grown, but the problems of keeping tissues alive in vitro must not be overlooked.
To face these challenges we are collaborating with scientists from a number of disciplines. This opens up a complex and exciting interface between clinicians, biologists, physical scientists and engineers. The development of ever closer collaborations with colleagues in the NHS ensures that products being developed are both relevant and useful.