In this review, we focused our attention on the more important natural extracellular matrix (ECM) molecules (collagen and fibrin), employed as cellular scaffolds for tissue engineering and on a class of semi-synthetic materials made from the fusion of specific oligopeptide sequences, showing biological activities, with synthetic materials. In particular, these new “intelligent” scaffolds may contain oligopeptide cleaving sequences specific for matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), integrin binding domains, growth factors, anti-thrombin sequences, plasmin degradation sites, and morphogenetic proteins. The aim was to confer to these new “intelligent” semi-synthetic biomaterials, the advantages offered by both the synthetic materials (processability, mechanical strength) and by the natural materials (specific cell recognition, cellular invasion, and the ability to supply differentiation/proliferation signals). Due to their characteristics, these semi-synthetic biomaterials represent a new and versatile class of biomimetic hybrid materials that hold clinical promise in serving as implants to promote wound healing and tissue regeneration. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.