Welcome to the web site of the Multi-Agency Tissue Engineering Science (MATES) Interagency Working Group.

Advancing Tissue Science and Engineering: A Multi-Agency Strategic Plan is now in print. Click on the cover to learn more.

This web site is designed to provide the most up-to-date information about federal funding, scientific meetings, regulatory guidance, standards development, funding efforts, and other key issues to MATES' academic and industry partners. It is a co-development of the members of the MATES Interagency Working Group.

What is Tissue Science and Engineering?

Tissue science and engineering is the use of physical, chemical, biological, and engineering processes to control and direct the aggregate behavior of cells. An overlapping field, regenerative medicine, encompasses some of the knowledge and practice of tissue science and engineering but also includes self-healing through endogenous recruitment or exogenous delivery of appropriate cells, biomolecules, and supporting structures.

Since the term tissue engineering was first used in 1985, significant progress has been made toward understanding and harnessing the structure-function relationships in living organisms, and first-generation tissue-engineered medical products are commercially available. Yet, unsolved fundamental questions about how cells work within engineered matrices compromise further advancement. These new innovations will be launched into an increasingly complex and sophisticated medical marketplace in which traditional risk-benefit analyses must be complemented with cost-benefit analyses.

As the cost of medical care continues to grow faster than overall inflation, such assessments will soon need to be made at both the individual and societal levels. Tissue science and engineering is expected to contribute to revolutionary products for the full spectrum of biotechnology from the earliest diagnostic testing to the advanced stages of therapy. Thus, this field will be an integral part of the national debate on moving to a health care system that emphasizes prediction, personalization, and prevention, while continuing to improve treatments for end stage disease.

What is MATES?

MATES is the means by which federal agencies involved in tissue science and engineering stay informed of each other's activities and coordinate their efforts in a timely and efficient manner.

As the expense of medical research and development continues to rise, federal agencies must maintain balanced portfolios while avoiding wasteful duplication of effort. Through MATES, participating agencies are able to contribute to strategic funding decisions in support of the wide range of Tissue Engineering initiatives. MATES facilitates joint sponsorship of activities and events that promote the entire field of tissue science and engineering.

To learn more about MATES, please review the group's Strategic Plan.

Goals of the MATES Interagency Working Group:

  • To facilitate communication across departments/agencies by regular information exchanges and a common web site.
  • To enhance cooperation through co-sponsorship of scientific meetings and workshops, and facilitation of the development of standards.
  • To monitor technology by undertaking cooperative assessments of the status of the field.
  • To provide for support of Tissue Engineering research through an Interagency Announcement of Opportunities in Tissue Engineering.