Tissue engineering is the study of the growth and development of new biological tissues. Primarily used for tissue replacement when one's own tissues are not easily accessible or available, this field holds tremendous promise for the future of medicine.
Our group in collaboration with UB's Chair of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Dr. Stelios Andreadis, is focused primarily on the circulatory system. This research area is conducting important work studying the mechanisms involved in vascular remodeling during both development and disease in order to develop a replacement vascular graft for clinical applications.
Treatment of vascular disease often calls for the replacement of blood vessels, normally achieved through the grafting of vessels from other parts of a patient’s body. This treatment can be challenging and meets with mixed results and can cause considerable discomfort to patients, particularly at the point where a vessel was extracted.
At UB’s New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics & Life Sciences (CBLS), this research area is conducting work that will allow a tissue-engineered blood vessel (TEBV), in combination with the body’s natural immune and rebuilding responses, to better integrate with the body's original vessel tissue. Because the TEBV is generated from cells that naturally occur in the patient's body or no cells at all, immunological rejection will not occur.
Building on previous success in using bone-marrow derived stem cells as predecessors to vascular tissue, the group is currently working on other model systems that examine the relationship between the bodies own healing response with designed biological signals to optimize development and integration of the TEBV. Different development and response to disease is also being considered through close observation and comparison of arterial, venous, systemic and pulmonary vascular beds.