Ready-to-use bioengineered veins expand off-the-shelf vessels options

February 3rd, 2011 - 3:18 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Feb 3 (ANI): A new study might make it possible one day for surgeons to simply open the refrigerator when patient-ready bioengineered blood vessels might be needed.

To avoid complications in patients with coronary artery disease or peripheral arterial disease surgeons prefer to use vessels taken from a patient’s own body.

But this poses a problem when the patient lacks enough robust blood vessels, reports Nature.

One particularly promising option has been the development of tissue-engineered vascular grafts, which are made using a patient’s own cells - limiting the likelihood of rejection.

However, these types of patient-specific grafts take up to 9 months to grow and can cost more than 15,000 dollars per vessel.

Shannon Dahl, co-founder of biotechnology firm Humacyte in Durham, North Carolina, and her collaborators have developed a way to grow ‘bioengineered veins’ from donor cells by introducing the cells into scaffolds made of polyglycolic acid.

Using this method, the researchers say that instead of making one vascular graft at a time with one patient’s cells, they could use cell banks to make as many as 37 large or 74 smaller blood vessels per donor, and cell banks put together from multiple donors could hold even more.

The vascular grafts demonstrated characteristics similar to those of human blood vessels in terms of strength and durability.

Gianni Angelini, clinical chair of cardiothoracic surgery at Imperial College London, says that if the smaller blood vessels made by the team need to be seeded with a patient’s own cells, that would reduce the “off the shelf” utility of the grafts.

The research is published today in Science Translational Medicine. (ANI)

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