Researchers from Duke University and Yale have created lab-grown human blood vessels from the patient’s own cells make dialysis easier, these replace synthetic polymers and donor tissues that carry risks of inflammation and immune system rejection.
The process of dialysis, mimics some few of the kidney’s main functions, but it requires a machine that pulls out blood from a blood vessel, filters it and pumps it back into the body.
An extra blood vessel, either synthetic or donated, is implanted into the patient’s arm that channels blood into the dialysis machine.
In contrast to usual dialysis, the new method, which is already heading into clinical trials, would allow the patient’s own cells to create the extra blood vessel to be implanted in the arm.
The researchers lined a biodegradable polymer tube with vascular cells from a deceased donor. For eight weeks, the cells multiplied and formed a new tube while the polymer scaffolding broke down.
The team then took the cellular tube and implanted it to the patient’s arm. The patients’ cells migrated into the tubes and multiplied to create mature blood vessels.
Out of 60 patients that participated, 13 showed that blood vessels developed into multi-layered tissues that self-healed after injury, effectively becoming like the person’s own blood vessels.
Moreover, these bio-engineered vessels also showed no signs of scarring or inflammatory reactions. The researchers further hope to create large numbers of engineered blood vessels that doctors can essentially obtain ‘off-the-shelf’ for using in patients with various vascular diseases, including heart disease.