Home | News | Tissue regeneration may be easier with new blood vessel method

Tissue regeneration may be easier with new blood vessel method

Written by Catharine Paddock PHD

A barrier to successful transplantation of lab-grown organs and tissue is the inability to generate a viable network of blood vessels that integrates the new tissue into the patient. Now, a new way of growing blood vessels that uses patient-derived 3-D scaffolds – as opposed to artificial ones – could meet this need and deliver a significant boost to regenerative medicine.Researchers from the University of Bath and the Bristol Heart Institute, both in the United Kingdom, describe their new technique for growing 3-D blood vessels in the journal Scientific Reports.They suggest because their method of growing blood vessels in a 3-D scaffold uses cells from the patient, it reduces the risk of transplant rejection.The idea of regenerative medicine is to replace damaged organs and tissues in patients with new ones. Ideally, these should be generated using material derived from the patient, so as to reduce the risk of rejection by the immune system.An ideal application of such tissue engineering is heart failure, where the heart cannot pump enough blood around the body because the heart muscle has become weak or stiff. In theory, new heart muscle engineered in the lab could be transplanted to replace the worn out tissue in the patient.However, in practice, regenerative medicine is held back because of problems with generating a blood supply to the new tissue. Dr. Giordano Pula, research team leader and lecturer in pharmacology at the University of Bath, explains: “A major challenge in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine is providing the new tissue with a network of blood vessels, and linking this to the patient’s existing blood supply; this is vital for the tissue’s survival and integration with adjacent tissues.” Co-author Dr. Paul De Bank, senior lecturer in pharmaceutics at the University of Bath, says that because the human platelet lysate gel contains a number of different growth factors, this stimulates existing blood vessels to infiltrate the gel and form new connections with the new vessels. He adds: “Combining tissue-specific cells with this EPC-containing gel offers the potential for the formation of fully vascularised, functional tissues or organs, which integrate seamlessly with the patient.” The researchers note that another advantage of their method is that because the gel comes from human platelets, it should be safer than gel derived from animal products. This discovery has the potential to accelerate the development of regenerative medicine applications.”
Dr. Paul De Bank

Collected by Prof. Dr. Hedef Dhafir El-Yassin MRSC (PhD, Post Doctorate)