Engineering bone: challenges and obstacles

J Cell Mol Med. Jan-Mar 2005;9(1):72-84. doi: 10.1111/j.1582-4934.2005.tb00338.x.


Repair of large bone defects is still a challenge for the orthopaedic, reconstructive and maxillo-facial surgeon. Availability of pluripotent stem cells from either autologous or allogenic sources and the potential of inducing the osteogenic phenotype is motivating exploration and development of custom-tailored materials known as "bioengineered bone constructs". In such cases, the clinical scenario involves either expansion of stem cells in monolayer and loading them into a porous scaffold prior to surgery or direct cell expansion within the scaffold, and implanting this novel construct back into the donor patient. In this review, we delineate, from an engineering perspective, the progress that has been made to date and the challenges remaining in successfully translating this promising (but not yet definitively established) approach from bench to the bed site.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biocompatible Materials / chemistry
  • Biocompatible Materials / therapeutic use
  • Bone Marrow Transplantation
  • Bone Substitutes / chemistry
  • Bone Substitutes / therapeutic use
  • Bone and Bones / cytology*
  • Bone and Bones / surgery
  • Humans
  • Osteogenesis
  • Stem Cells
  • Tissue Engineering / methods*


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Bone Substitutes