Liver Tissue Engineering
Orthotopic liver transplantation is currently the only definitive cure for patients with an end-stage liver disease. However, donor organs are limited, and several patients succumb to liver failure before a suitable donor is found. Liver tissue engineering and regenerative medicine are promising new technologies that can help reduce the burden of liver shortage by increasing the number of organs available for transplantation. In this chapter, we focus our attention on various aspects of liver bioengineering. In the first section, we describe the most representative two-dimensional (2D) and tri-dimensional (3D) liver models used in liver tissue engineering, including decellularized and recellularized whole liver scaffolds. In the second part, we highlight the importance of bioreactor systems, the need for a universal formulation of culture medium to allow an efficient growth of all the cells seeded in liver constructs, and the addition of appropriate oxygen carriers to the culture systems to improve the oxygen solubility in the culture medium. In the third section, the focus is on regulatory and technological challenges related to liver bioengineering.