Tissue Engineering in the Genitourinary System

  • Anthony Atala


In general, genitourinary tissue has traditionally been replaced with autologous tissues harvested from other sites of the body (Atala and Retik, 1994). However, these approaches rarely replace the entire function of the original tissue. Congenital defects occur more often in the genitourinary system than in any other system within the human body. The genitourinary system, composed of the kidneys, ureters, bladder, urethra, and genital organs, is exposed to a variety of possible injury sites as the fetus develops. Some of the congenital abnormalities require early reconstruction with nonurologic tissues. For example, a baby born with bladder exstrophy, a condition wherein the bladder develops outside the abdominal wall, requires prompt surgical intervention and possibly reconstruction of the bladder with nonurologic tissues, such as gastrointestinal segments. Similarly, baby girls born with vaginal maldevelopment, may require reconstruction with intestinal segments or skin (Atala and Hendren, 1994; Hendren and Atala, 1994). Boys born with hypospadias, a condition wherein the urethra does not develop normally, require early creation of a neo-urethra with skin or mucosa from multiple body sites (Atala and Retik, 1996; Retik et al, 1994).


Urinary Incontinence Urothelial Cell Polymer Scaffold Urethral Reconstruction Human Urothelial Cell 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Boston 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anthony Atala
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory for Tissue Engineering, Division of Urology and Department of SurgeryChildren’s Hospital and Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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