Recovery from end-stage organ failure presents a challenge for the medical community, considering the limitations of extracorporeal assist devices and the shortage of donors when organ replacement is needed. There is a need for new methods to promote recovery from organ failure and regenerative medicine is an option that should be considered. Recent progress in the field of tissue engineering has opened avenues for potential clinical applications, including the use of microfluidic devices for diagnostic purposes, and bioreactors or cell/tissue-based therapies for transplantation. Early attempts to engineer tissues produced thin, planar constructs; however, recent approaches using synthetic scaffolds and decellularized tissue have achieved a more complex level of tissue organization in organs such as the urinary bladder and trachea, with some success in clinical trials. In this context, the concept of decellularization technology has been applied to produce whole organ-derived scaffolds by removing cellular content while retaining all the necessary vascular and structural cues of the native organ. In this review, we focus on organ decellularization as a new regenerative medicine approach for whole organs, which may be applied in the field of digestive surgery.
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