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From The CriticsReviewer: Bruce A. Fenderson, PhD (Thomas Jefferson University)
Description: This ninth volume in the Nanotechnologies for the Life Sciences reviews methods for the creation of nanomaterials and details the response of mammalian cells to various man-made objects, including nanoparticles, nanotubes, and nanofibers. The book's 12 chapters cover topics ranging from electrospinning technology for nanofibrous scaffolds in tissue engineering to nanoparticles and nanowires for cellular engineering. The reader enters a nanoworld at the atomic scale. Here we step across a DNA strand or meander along the folds in a globular protein. From this perspective, the extracellular matrices that surround cells appear as coarse fibrous meshes — scaffolds for the display of growth factors and adhesion molecules. Research in nanobiotechnology is aimed at engineering artificial scaffolds to support cellular organization and metabolism. The primary focus of this book is on biochemistry, bioengineering, and materials science.
Purpose: According to the editor, this book "can be considered as an encyclopedia on nanotechnological approaches to tissue, cell and organ engineering." The long-term goals of this expanding field are to provide replacement parts for nonfunctional tissues and organs. The authors believe that this book "will be a knowledge base for further advances that are bound to take place in the near future."
Audience: It is written for basic science and clinical researchers interested in biochemistry, bioengineering, and regenerative medicine. Researchers in chemistry and materials science will also appreciate the complexity and comprehensive nature of these excellent reviews. The editor thanks the reader "who has taken the time to join this journey."
Features: Each chapter provides a summary, introduction, detailed discussion, and complete references. The authors discuss, compare, illustrate, and review the literature. They provide examples of interesting results from their laboratories. The chapters are written by experts and the book is carefully edited. The drawings and continuous tone photomicrographs are interspersed with beautiful, full-color photomicrographs. The figures nicely illustrate the effects of novel substrates and culture conditions on the growth and differentiation of mammalian cells in culture.
Assessment: The value of this book hinges on whether artificial scaffolds (with appropriate stem cells added) will be useful for constructing artificial tissues and organs. A different approach is to let stem cells use existing biological matrices within tissues to regenerate biological structure. The two strategies (i.e., natural versus man-made template) are complementary. It remains to be seen which approach will have the most direct clinical application. The authors could have spent more time discussing their overall approach for adding back specific growth factors and adhesion molecules. What are the preferred coupling mechanisms? How will these issues be solved? This book is an excellent source of information for all those interested in applying engineering concepts to the field of regenerative medicine, with focus on new nanomaterials being investigated for use in tissue, cell, and organ engineering.