Many tissue engineering protocols rely on an extracellular matrix or scaffold to support regenerating tissues. These biomaterials may be synthetic or naturally occurring. Biomaterials derived from natural sources include elemental alginate and collagen. Additionally, extracellular matrices derived from various organs and animal sources may be used to provide a biologically intact scaffold for use in regenerative protocols. This chapter highlights the fundamental and pre-clinical research that has been conducted using natural biomaterials for tissue regeneration. Natural biomaterials have demonstrated considerable promise and are likely to be an important element of future successful tissue engineering protocols.
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