Byline: Christian Toto, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
The budding tissue-engineering field promises one day to solve one of medicine's biggest problems, the dearth of available organs for transplantation.
For now, tissue engineering - the ability to create three-dimensional cell bundles that can replace tissue lost to trauma or disease - is being used to a modest degree nationwide. Several companies offer skin and cartilage tissue, representing the first wave of engineered organic products.
Broadly defined, tissue engineering is the development and manipulation of laboratory-grown molecules, cells, tissues or organs to replace or support the function of defective or injured body parts.
Although cells have been cultured, or grown, outside the body for many years, the possibility of growing complex tissues - literally replicating the design and function of human tissue - is a more recent development.
The process requires not only growing cells, but considering how …