In a breakthrough research human blood vessels have been grown in the lab that could transform heart bypass surgery. The US researchers behind the new technology say now they can produce blood vessels just in two months by weaving them on a tiny loom in the lab.
The DIY veins take just few weeks to produce from skin cells which are removed from the hand. In earlier endeavors to generate man-made vein have relied on synthetic material or generated veins which are not strong enough. All these artificial versions are prone to infection. But the latest technique will cut the chances of infection.
The latest DIY veins technology is developed by researchers from US firm Cytograft Tissue Engineering. The procedure begins with a sample of skin cells taken from the back of the hand. These skin cells that generate great amounts of strong but elastic protein collagen are grown and multiplied in the lab till they form a thin sheet.
Then this sheet is rolled up like a roll of wrapping paper and incubated with essential nutrients until the layers fuse together to form a hollow tube. This hollow tube is then lined with a second type of cell, which are taken from a superficial vein that was part of the original skin sample.
The researchers say that the whole process can be made quicker by cutting out the step in which the sheet of cells is rolled up and left to form a tube. In its place, the cells are cut into fine threads, which are visible to the naked eye. These are then rolled on to spools and woven into tube shapes on a tiny sterile loom.
By using patient’s own cells and using donor cells, blood vessels up to twenty cm in length have been made. In study trail veins made from donor cells have been implanted into three patients suffering severe kidney disease, to allow better access for dialysis. The transplants have been successful so far, with the first patient treated more than a year ago.
Use of donor cells would allow the veins to be manufactured on an industrial scale and stored in fridges until they are needed. Heart surgeon Timothy Gardner former president of the American Heart Association ,stated these are essentially off-the-shelf, ready to be used. Most interesting thing was that there was no evidence of any immune response or rejection associated with it.