Emerging nanotechnology approaches in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine
Eung-Sam Kim,1,2 Eun Hyun Ahn,3,4 Tal Dvir,5,6 Deok-Ho Kim1,4,7
1Department of Bioengineering, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA; 2Department of Biological Sciences, Chonnam National University, Gwangju, Korea; 3Department of Pathology, 4Institute of Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA; 5Department of Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology, 6Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel; 7Center for Cardiovascular Biology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
The history of human kind suggests that there has been a correlation between global population growth and major events in science and technology over the last three centuries. Sharp increases in the world’s population have been triggered by the industrial revolution and scientific and technological breakthroughs including: the advent of the railways, discovery of penicillin and deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), and the invention of the computer.1 Since the 20th century, interdisciplinary areas in the physical and biological sciences have accelerated the progress of biomedical applications. The recent integration of emerging nanotechnology into biology and biomedicine has resulted in a range of innovative nanoengineering efforts for the repair and regeneration of tissues and organs.2 Thus, it is expected that nanoengineering approaches to biomedical applications can contribute to addressing the present issue of personal and global health care and its economic burden for more than 7 billion people.
Why are we paying attention to nanoengineering for biomedical applications? The size of most biomolecules ranges from 0.2 nm to 200 nm (Figure 1). Research has focused on control of the interaction and localization of biomolecules even at the single-molecule level using ever-evolving nanotechnology.3 The evidence indicates that cells can respond to nanoscale changes in the dynamic extracellular matrix and vice versa. Biomimetic nanopatterns alone can direct the differentiation of stem cells without involvement of exogenous soluble biochemical factors.4,5 This regulation of cellular behavior by nanotechnology is one of many examples demonstrating the significant applications of nanoengineering in biomedicine. This special issue includes four review papers and seven research articles that provide an insight into current nanoengineering approaches to the repair or regeneration of tissues and organs.
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