Engineered Blood Vessels May be an Option in Cardiac Bypass

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Cardiac Bypass

The first-ever human use of completely biologically engineered blood vessels grown from a person's own cells could be an option for people who have vessels too damaged for heart bypass, researchers reported at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2005.

"Sheet-based tissue engineering is an opportunity for patients to have an endless supply of vessels made from their own cells for bypass or revascularization surgeries," said Todd McAllister, Ph.D., co-author of the study and president and CEO of Cytograft Tissue Engineering in Novato, Calif.

Those mostly likely to need the tissue-engineered vessels are:

  • hemodialysis patients who require shunts between arteries and veins for access to blood filtering machines that remove wastes and excess fluids;

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  • lower limb bypass patients, generally amputation candidates or diabetic patients; or

  • coronary bypass patients who do not have suitable vessels for harvest.

The coronary patients make up a particularly critical group in need of options, researchers said.

In 2002, Nicolas L'Heureux, Ph.D., McAllister and Cytograft's chief scientific officer and inventor of sheet-based tissue engineering, gave a presentation on tissue-engineered blood vessels at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions in Chicago.

"Back then, we demonstrated the durability and clot resistance of the vessels in different animal models," McAllister said.

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