January 22, 2019

Blood Vessels Could Become Big Business

vascular grafts

Significant progress has been made on tissue engineered vascular grafts making them nearly ready to test on human patients. Image courtesy of Humacyte, Inc.

Medical device and science related businesses may be getting into the blood vessel supply field before long. Scientists have successfully grown blood vessels from human tissue that are tolerant of being stored. This new method of creating tissue engineered vascular grafts enables surgeons to grab what’s needed, “off the shelf” at the time of patient need.

The co-founder of one company creating such a product, Humacyte, Inc., and also the lead author of a study involving the engineered tissue, Shannon Dahl, had this to say, “Not only are bioengineered veins available at the time of patient need, but the ability to generate a significant number of grafts from a cell bank will allow for a reduction in the final production costs, as compared to other regenerative medicine strategies.”

Not only are the grafts capable of being stored, the growth process is more efficient yielding more blood vessels per donor or cell bank than previous attempts.

So far, tests done on baboons and dogs have produced excellent results. The vessels remained open and strong for up to 6 months in the arms of 8 baboons, and up to a year in 5 dogs.

Tests on humans in the clinic are next up. They are currently laying the ground work for how to safely approach these tests.