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Development and clinical translation of tubular constructs for tracheal tissue engineering: a review

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-01-17, 10:22 authored by Luis Soriano, Tehreem Khalid, Derek Whelan, Niall O'Huallachain, Karen C Redmond, Fergal O'BrienFergal O'Brien, Cian O'LearyCian O'Leary, Sally-Ann CryanSally-Ann Cryan
Effective restoration of extensive tracheal damage arising from cancer, stenosis, infection or congenital abnormalities remains an unmet clinical need in respiratory medicine. The trachea is a 10–11 cm long fibrocartilaginous tube of the lower respiratory tract, with 16–20 tracheal cartilages anterolaterally and a dynamic trachealis muscle posteriorly. Tracheal resection is commonly offered to patients suffering from short-length tracheal defects, but replacement is required when the trauma exceeds 50% of total length of the trachea in adults and 30% in children. Recently, tissue engineering (TE) has shown promise to fabricate biocompatible tissue-engineered tracheal implants for tracheal replacement and regeneration. However, its widespread use is hampered by inadequate re-epithelialisation, poor mechanical properties, insufficient revascularisation and unsatisfactory durability, leading to little success in the clinical use of tissue-engineered tracheal implants to date. Here, we describe in detail the historical attempts and the lessons learned for tracheal TE approaches by contextualising the clinical needs and essential requirements for a functional tracheal graft. TE manufacturing approaches explored to date and the clinical translation of both TE and non-TE strategies for tracheal regeneration are summarised to fully understand the big picture of tracheal TE and its impact on clinical treatment of extensive tracheal defects.


Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Centre for Research in Medical Devices (CURAM)

European Regional Development Fund (Grant 13/RC/2073)

SFI-funded AMBER centre (Grant 17/RC-PhD/3477)



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Published Citation

Soriano L. et al. Development and clinical translation of tubular constructs for tracheal tissue engineering: a review. Eur Respir Rev. 2021;30(162):210154.

Publication Date

8 November 2021

PubMed ID



  • Amber (Advanced Material & Bioengineering Research) Centre
  • Anatomy and Regenerative Medicine
  • CURAM Centre for Research in Medical Devices
  • School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences
  • Tissue Engineering Research Group (TERG)

Research Area

  • Immunity, Infection and Inflammation
  • Biomaterials and Regenerative Medicine
  • Respiratory Medicine
  • Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences


European Respiratory Society (ERS)


  • Published Version (Version of Record)