Blood Vessels Grown in a Lab

New technique grows vein safe for transplants that don't clog
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 3, 2011 10:28 AM CST
American scientists say they've figured out how to grow blood vessels that are safe and can be stored for up to a year.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Scientists have devised a new method of growing blood vessels—safe for transplanting into anyone, or for storage for up to a year—that could revolutionize heart surgery, reports the Telegraph. To create the veins, random donor cells are placed on a biodegradable scaffold, where they grow collagen; the original cells are then washed away, leaving behind a usable tube free of the complications that dog current blood vessel options.

Harvesting veins from a patient's leg can lead to complications, and synthetic veins often clog and cause infections. And growing blood vessels from a patients own cells can take upward of nine months—too long for many patients in need of bypass surgery. "This study shows that bioengineering can be used to create a novel type of vascular graft that has the potential to improve outcomes for patients," said one doctor. "We look forward to the results of clinical trials designed to test this.”

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