Profile of a Tissue Engineer

The New York Times profiles researcher Anthony Atala: "The field of tissue engineering is large in this endeavor, with researchers like Dr. Atala exploring a basic approach. To repair or replace parts, they seed a biodegradable scaffold with cells and insert it into the body, where the cells, if all goes smoothly, mature into functioning tissue. At the institute, he and more than 80 colleagues are working on tissue replacement projects for practically every body part - blood vessels and nerves, muscles, cartilage and bones, esophagus and trachea, pancreas, kidneys, liver, heart and even uterus. In the long term, the scientists hope, patients may no longer have to wait on the national transplant list 'for someone to die so they can live,' as Dr. Atala puts it. Organs could be tailor-made for people."



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