Researchers grow new blood vessels
Synthetic blood vessels that can be made ahead of time and stored until surgery time may help patients undergoing heart surgery and hemodialysis, among others. The researchers hope that these studies will show that the cups are safe enough to receive permission from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to start clinical trials.
During bypass surgery, doctors seeking to bypass blocked arteries typically use vessels in a patient's leg or arm. But people who have vascular diseases or who have previously undergone other operations may not have adequate vessels. The other options have complications: donor grafts are often rejected by the recipient's immune system, artificial plastic vessels have high rates of blood clot formation and other problems, and vessels developed from the patient's own tissue They take more than six months to mature.
Niklason claims to have solved this problem. Using a technique they developed at MIT in the 1990s, the researchers combined tubular structures with smooth muscle cells. Cells secrete collagen and other connective tissue molecules around the structure, forming blood vessels. Once the structure is decomposed, the vessels are washed with a detergent that removes the cells, leaving only the fibrous tubes of collagen.
Since the tubes do not contain live cells, they do not trigger an immune response and have a shelf life of more than one year.
Source: Technology Review