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Keywords:

  • Biomaterials;
  • Regenerative medicine;
  • Scaffolds;
  • Scaffold-free;
  • Tissue engineering

Abstract

Tissue engineering and regenerative medicine aim to produce tissue substitutes to restore lost functions of tissues and organs. This includes cell therapies, induction of tissue/organ regeneration by biologically active molecules, or transplantation of in vitro grown tissues. This review article discusses advanced cell therapies that make use of scaffolds and scaffold-free approaches. The first part of this article covers the basic characteristics of scaffolds, including characteristics of scaffold material, fabrication and surface functionalization, and their applications in the construction of hard (bone and cartilage) and soft (nerve, skin, blood vessel, heart muscle) tissue substitutes. In addition, cell sources as well as bioreactive agents, such as growth factors, that guide cell functions are presented. The second part in turn, examines scaffold-free applications, with a focus on the recently discovered cell sheet engineering. This article serves as a good reference for all applications of advanced cell therapies and as well as advantages and limitations of scaffold-based and scaffold-free strategies.