Tissue engineering efforts are currently being undertaken for every type of tissue and organ within the urinary system. Most of the effort expended to engineer genitourinary tissues has occurred within the last decade. Tissue engineering techniques require expertise in growth factor biology, a cell culture facility designed for human application, and personnel who have mastered the techniques of cell harvest, culture, and expansion. Polymer scaffold design and manufacturing resources are essential for the successful application of this technology. In order to apply these engineering techniques to humans, further studies need to be performed with many of the tissues described. The first human application of cell-based tissue engineering technology for urologic applications took place at our institution, with the injection of autologous cells for the correction of vesicoureteral reflux in children. The same technology has been expanded to treat adult patients with urinary incontinence. Trials of urethral tissue replacement with processed collagen matrices are in progress, and bladder replacement using tissue engineering techniques are currently being arranged. Recent progress suggests that engineered urologic tissues may have clinical applicability in the future.
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