One aspect of reconstructive medicine is the creation of artificial blood vessels. The standard technique is to allow cultured cells to create new blood vessels on their own, a process that is often delicate and can take as long as several months.
ZME Science reports that Leon Bellan, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Vanderbilt University, has hit upon a technique to create new blood vessels that has its inspiration in how cotton candy is spun. The new technology has allowed the creation of 3D capillary systems that can then be implanted in the human body.
The way the technique works is that actual cotton candy is spun on a medical device and then covered with a material compatible with the human body. Then the cotton candy is dissolved, leaving the artificial blood vessels behind.
Besides the “cotton candy” spinning approach, Bellan’s team had to come up with a material that was soluble at low temperatures and insoluble at higher temperatures. The material they come up with can be used to create vascular systems outside the body at cooler temperatures and then implanted in a patient where they remain intact because of body heat.
The next step was to find a way to line the artificial blood vessels with human cells. Ultimately, the artificial blood vessels would be used to create 3D printed organs such as hearts, livers, or kidneys, derived from a patient’s own stem cells. In this way, the science of organ transplants will have taken a great leap forward, allowing the implanting of organs that are compatible with the recipient, thus eliminating the need for anti-rejection drugs.
Please contact us if you are a commercial leader within a biotech or medical device company seeking your next great hire, or career advice for yourself. We look forward to the opportunity to help you excel in the future!
Follow me on Twitter @PrimeCoreSearch.