Starting off with a batch of donor cells, researchers at Humacyte have developed a collagen matrix from which the cells are then extracted, leaving an 'acellular' material that can be used to craft new blood vessels. So far, this new approach has been tested only in animals. In theory, the new blood vessels are expected to be compatible to human hosts without raising the threat of an immune response. The process developed at Humacyte involves seeding a biodegradable scaffold with donor cells which lay down collagen matrixes. The cells are then washed off, leaving the acellular material. The research project was spearheaded by Yale University scientist Laura Niklason, who founded Humacyte three years ago.
Currently, surgeons typically use veins extracted from a patient's leg for use as replacement vessels for patients. But that procedure can be difficult and arduous for patients. "It's an incredibly important and creative approach," MIT professor Robert Langer told MIT Technology Review.
- see the release from Humacyte
- here's the article from MIT Technology Review
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