Growing human tissue in labs to help living patients is not a new things. Doctors all over the world use all sorts of lab grown tissues to help their patients get better.
But so far there has been a limitation to what could and couldn’t be done with these foreign implants, as often the implants have the risk of getting infected or being rejected by the body.
But now a new type of lab grown implant could push the boundaries of this technology. This implant, a lab grown blood vessel was designed specifically for dialysis patients.
These patients often need help with blood vessels as their own are often damaged due to constant needle penetration done during dialysis.
These new lab grown vessels offer a simpler option to help them with this problem, since they don’t have any living tissue, thus can’t be rejected. It also removes the waiting period needed for Bioengineered Vessels that are tailor made using a patient’s own cells.
This amazing feat was achieved by a team of researchers at Duke University, in collaboration with Yale University and the tissue engineering company Humacyte.
To make this possible, they used human vascular cells and placed the over a blood vessel shaped scaffold. It takes a few weeks for the tissue to grow before it could be made ready for implanting.
These bioengineered vessels were then implanted into 60 dialysis patients, with results showing better performance in comparison to synthetic alternatives.
What makes the procedure even more special is the fact that over time, the patient’s own cells begins to replace the bioengineered ones, which gives hope for the future of regenerative medicine.