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New way of growing blood vessels could boost regenerative medicine

In addition the technique to grow the blood vessels in a 3D scaffold cuts down on the risk of transplant rejection because it uses cells from the patient. It was developed by researchers from the University of Bath’s Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, working with colleagues at Bristol Heart Institute.

The study is published in Scientific Reports.

So far the shortage of adequate patient-derived scaffolds that can support blood vessel growth has been a major limitation for regenerative medicine and tissue engineering.

Other methods only allow limited formation of small blood vessels such as capillaries, which makes tissue less likely to successfully transplant into a patient. In addition other methods of tissue growth require the use of animal products, unnecessary in this technique which uses human platelet lysate gel (hPLG) and endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) – a type of cell which helps maintain blood vessel walls.

Lab-engineered human capillaries
Lab-engineered human capillaries (in green) derived from stem cells are ‘making contact’ with the sprouts protruding from a rat aorta (in red)
Image Credit: Tiago Fortunato University of Bath