Engineered blood vessels function like native tissue

Segment of blood vessel created using bone marrow adult stem cells.

Blood vessels that have been tissue-engineered from bone marrow adult stem cells may in the future serve as a patient’s own source of new blood vessels following a coronary bypass or other procedures that require vessel replacement, according to new UB research.

“Our results show that bone marrow is an excellent source of adult stem cells containing smooth muscle and endothelial cells, and that these stem cells can be used in regenerative medicine for cardiovascular applications,” says Stelios T. Andreadis, associate professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Andreadis coauthored the paper, published recently in Cardiovascular Research, with Jin Yu Liu, lead author and a postdoctoral researcher in Andreadis’ lab.

The research demonstrates the potential for eventually growing tissue-engineered vessels out of stem cells harvested from the patients who need them, providing a desirable alternative to the venous grafts now routinely done in patients undergoing coronary bypass operations.

Disadvantages with venous grafts include limited availability of vessels, pain and discomfort at the donor site and a high 10-year failure rate.