Researchers at Indiana University have developed technology that creates human blood vessels. This could be a potential treatment option for patients with peripheral arterial disease (PAD).
The researchers, led by Mervin C. Yoder, MD, a professor of pediatrics and biochemistry and molecular biology at the Indiana University School of Medicine, developed a method using induced pluripotent stem cells and turning them into cells with the characteristics of endothelial colony-forming cells found in umbilical cord blood, which create blood vessels and restore blood flow to the damaged tissue. In a study of the technique that was published in Nature Biotechnology, this method resulted in the growth of 100 million new cells for each original cell in approximately three months. Once the cells are grown, they are injected in a gel material directly into a limb to encourage the regeneration of small blood vessels. Researchers also can use 3-D bioprinting to make the cells necessary to create artificial blood vessels that can be transplanted into the limb.
Dr. Yoder noted that this technology could reduce treatment costs, as PAD costs the U.S. health-care system more than $4.5 billion per year.
Source: Indiana University press release, April 6, 2016.