Decellularization to Create Blood Vessels For Transplant

Decellularization is proving to be a versatile technology in tissue engineering: grow the tissue from stem cells or accept a donor organ, strip its cells to leave behind the extracellular matrix, and then repopulate it from the recipient's stem cells to make it ready for transplant. For example: "Heart bypass patients may soon be able to get new arteries without having to sacrifice vessels from other parts of their body, thanks to ready-made, off-the-shelf artificial blood vessels. Biomedical engineers have been trying to build replacement blood vessels, needed for coronary artery bypass surgery and kidney dialysis patients, for three decades. Researchers from Humacyte Inc., in Durham, N.C., discovered the trick: recruiting cells to build the vessel, then washing them away so the nonliving tissue is storable and works for anyone. ... The company has managed to make a "universal blood vessel. This is very practical and convenient for clinical applications. ... Other approaches, customized with a patient's own cells, take several months to prepare. ... Though Humacyte is starting to plan human clinical trials, it's too early to predict when the grafts would become available to the general public. ... [researchers] not yet know how much the grafts would cost, but anticipates it will be less than the $15,000-and-up for personalized grafts from patient's own cells. The company can use cells from multiple cadavers to generate hundreds of grafts at once, making production much cheaper."

Link: http://www.latimes.com/health/la-he-blood-vessels-20110221,0,6930611.story

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