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Scientists Grow Human Blood Vessels

Scientists have developed a technique to grow human veins in a laboratory, for use in dialysis or coronary bypass patients.

The vessels are created with muscle cells from a human cadaver, which are grafted onto tubes made of polyglycolic acid (the same polymer that degradable stitches are made from). The original human cells are “washed” from the vessels, which decreases the chances of rejection once transplanted. 8 to 10 weeks after being plopped into the patent, the polyglycolic tubes dissolve, leaving the graft to preform its vascular duty.

The vessels can remain ripe for up to a year when kept in a saline solution, so it will eventually be possible to stockpile the vessels at a hospital to use on an as-needed basis.

Current bypass surgery procedures use artificial veins, but these can clog easily and cause infection. The home-grown method has been successfully tested on animals, but further research will need to be done before the vessels are available at a hospital near you.

(AAAS via The Telegraph)

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