Harnessing the ability of stem cells to promote regeneration of compromised tissues could be of great potential to wound healing, tissue repair, and reinstating the functionality of dysfunctional tissues/organs. There is a surge of interest in cell-based therapies to treat various debilitating diseases.
Tissue Engineering:in our laboratory include understanding and employing the structure-property-function relationship of musculo-skeletal tissues to develop efficient cell- and material-based therapies for various musculoskeletal diseases. Our strateies include integrating multiple interactions (namely cell-matrix, cell-cell, and matrix-cell-aqueous milieu), found in tissues to provide the desired biophysical and biochemical cues to condition cellular commitment and their hierarchical structural organization. We are interested in cartilage, bone, and skeletal muscle. Here we use a combination of scaffolds (biomaterials) and stem cells (MSCs, hESCs, and hiPSCs) to engineer the tissue prior to implantation.
Stem Cell transplantation: Besides tissue engineered constructs, cell transplantation can also be used towards tissue repair. Stem cell transplantation can contribute to tissue regeneration and repair either by differentiating into tissue specific cells or by the secretion of trophic factors to rejuvenate the host tissue environment. In our laboratory, we are developing various cell delivery strategies including biomaterials as a delivery vehicle to promote in vivo survival, engraftment, and function of transplanted cells.
In situ tissue engineering through endogenous cells: Advances in tissue engineering have offered new opportunities to restore anato-mically and functionally compromised tissues. Although traditional tissue engineering approaches that utilize biomaterials and cells to create tissue constructs for implantation or biomaterials as a scaffold to deliver cells are promising, strategies that can activate endogenous cells to promote tissue repair are more clinically attractive. We are developing biomaterial-based devices to recruit endogenous cells to the defect site and direct their differentiation and biosynthetic activity to regenerate new tissues. Engineered tissue surrogates that stimulate endogenous cells without the need for biologics to assist tissue repair could circumvent limitations associated with conventional tissue engineering approaches, including ex vivo cell processing and laborious efforts, thereby accelerating the translational aspects of regenerative medicine.