What research is being done on tissue-based biologic agents?
One of the biggest challenges facing researchers is replicating the incredible diversity and complexity of in vivo microenvironments. A phenomenon or mechanism observed within an artificial setting may occur at diminished frequencies or not at all once the scientist attempts to transfer their in vitro findings to an in vivo environment. Tissue-based biologics research is attempting to bridge the gap between in vitro and in vivo by using biological components – often in tandem with synthetic materials – to replicate in vivo structures or generate de novo entities capable of integrating into in vivo environments. Examples of tissue-based biologics include sheets, scaffolds, patches, and even tissue formations and organs.1 Tissue-based agents are also often used in conjunction with cell- or protein/molecular-based biologics. For example, a collagen scaffold or patch can be seeded with cells and implanted with the aim of repopulating dead or diseased tissue, or it can be seeded with cytokines or hormones in order to induce a desired environmental or phenotypic shift in the local milieu upon implantation.
(1) K. Yano et al., “Regulatory approval for autologous human cells and tissue products in the United States, the European Union, and Japan,” Regen Ther, 1:45-56, 2015.