Adult stem cells derived from fat extracted during liposuction have been used to grow healthy blood vessels that scientists say could one day be used in heart bypass surgery and other procedures.
The development, reported at the American Heart Association's Basic Cardiovascular Sciences Scientific Sessions this week, could provide a new way to help millions of heart and stroke patients who need blood vessel grafts for procedures that require blood to be routed around blocked arteries.
The new liposuction-derived vessels, grown in a lab, could help solve major problems associated with grafting blood vessels from elsewhere in the body or from using artificial ones, said lead researcher Matthias Nollert, of the University of Oklahoma School of Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering.SPECIAL: These 4 Things Happen Right Before a Heart Attack — Read More.
"Current small-diameter vessel grafts carry an inherent risk of clotting, being rejected or otherwise failing to function normally," Nollert said. "Our engineered blood vessels have good mechanical properties and we believe they will contract normally when exposed to hormones. They also appear to prevent the accumulation of blood platelets – a component in blood that causes arteries to narrow."
The researchers hope to have a working prototype to test within six months.
Funding for this study was provided by the American Heart Association.