Scientists and biomedical engineers at Yale University and Humacyte have created functioning human acellular vessels by taking arterial cells from cadavers, growing them into new vessels and then transforming the cells to prevent the immune system from rejecting them. After processing, what remains is the cartilage and protein structures the make up the blood vessel’s structure.
The artificial vessels in this study were implanted in the arms of 60 kidney disease patients. The vessels were used as a portal to deliver thrice-weekly sessions of hemodialysis to the patients.
The researchers followed the patients for three years after they received their artificial blood vessels. Whenever a participant went in for routine surgery to fix or maintain their implanted vessels, researchers harvested a small portion of the artificial vessel. The researchers obtained samples from 13 patients, and analysis of the samples showed that the implants had filled in with the patients’ own cells.
The analysis showed evidence that the artificial vessels were able to heal themselves, like native blood vessels.
This technique still requires further study and experimentation, but has a wide variety of potential applications in trauma care and cardiovascular disease.
You can read the abstract for this research paper here: https://stm.sciencemag.org/content/11/485/eaau6934