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ATVB: Stem-Cell Blood Vessels Show Promise for Bypass Surgery

In rabbit study, researchers create blood vessels that may replace synthetic grafts

FRIDAY, April 9 (HealthDay News) -- The development of blood vessels from adult stem cells may offer an improvement over synthetic and other tissue-engineered grafts used during a variety of bypass surgeries, according to a study presented at the Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology 2010 Scientific Sessions, held from April 8 to 10 in San Francisco.

Stephen E. McIIhenny, of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, and colleagues grew rabbit adult stem cells on human vein scaffolds. They removed all cells from human saphenous veins, which left a tube consisting only of the protein scaffolding that supported the cells. They derived the rabbit stem cells from the rabbits' fat cells, with each rabbit receiving a graft with only its own stem cells on it. The researchers placed the test graft into the abdominal aorta of five male rabbits, while another five male rabbits received only grafts of bare protein scaffolding.

After two months, the researchers removed the grafts and found that the bare protein scaffolding grafts showed significant thickening and evidence of blood clots, while in the other grafts, the stem cells had prevented clotting and thickening of the wall.

"The significant finding is that we can build a blood vessel from donor tissue and an animal's own adult stem cells. Potentially, patients requiring bypass surgery could receive optimized grafts that would reduce their future complications," McIlhenny said in a statement.

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