Bioengineering better blood vessels
In the recent operation, the bio–engineered blood vessel was implanted as part of a hemodialysis, the process of flushing toxins out of the body when the kidneys are unable to do so.
A patient with late–stage kidney disease became the first person to receive a bioengineered blood vessel implant. The operation, performed on June 5, 2013 at Duke University Hospital, was the bio–engineered blood vessel's first clinical trial. Researchers at Duke and a spin–off company called Humacyte have been working on bioengineered blood vessels for almost fifteen years. [Source : Scientific American]
More recently, the bio–engineered blood vessel was implanted as part of a hemodialysis ( it is a procedure for removing metabolic waste products or toxic substances from the bloodstream by dialysis), the process of flushing toxins out of the body when the kidneys are unable to do so. During hemodialysis, doctors often try to speed up a patient's blood flow by connecting an artery to a vein. (Current methods for doing this involve grafting the blood vessels with a synthetic tube, which often leads to clotting, or surgically extracting blood vessels from elsewhere in the patient's body to form the connection, which opens up the risk of infection.)
In pre–clinical trials, Duke University's bioengineered blood vessel performed much better than either of these options, and it seems to be continuing to do so judging from the success of this operation. This breakthrough will help pave the way for bioengineering more complex organs.