Ethical and Legal Issues
As a field, tissue engineering has been defined for little more than a decade. Much still needs to be learned and developed to provide a firm scientific basis for therapeutic application. Upto date, much of the progress in this field has been related to the development of model systems, which have suggested a variety of approaches. Also, certain principles of cell biology and tissue development have been delineated. The field can draw heavily on the explosion of new knowledge from several interrelated well-established disciplines, and, in turn, may promote the coalescence of relatively new, related fields to achieve their potential. The rate of new understanding of complex living systems has been explosive in the past three decades. Tissue engineering can draw on the knowledge gained in the fields of cell biology, biochemistry, and molecular biology and apply it to the engineering of new tissues. Likewise, advances in materials science, chemical engineering, and bioengineering allow the rational application of engineering principles to living systems. Yet another branch of related knowledge is the area of human therapy as applied by surgeons and physicians.