Lipo Cells Can Help in Heart Surgery
Scientists working with stem cells from liposuction have developed small blood vessels that may one day be used in transplant and heart bypass surgeries.
Researcher Matthias Nollert, Ph.D., of the University of Oklahoma, said that the manufactured blood vessels were as elastic as regular blood vessels, but that more work is needed for the vessels to be able to hold up under the same kind of pressure that natural blood vessels can withstand.
The researchers extracted the cells from liposuction fat and grew them into muscle cells, placing them on a sheet of amniotic membrane. From there, they rolled the stem cells and membrane into “tubes” that matched the diameter of natural blood vessels. The cells grew into usable blood vessels about a month later.
Transplanted blood vessels are used in heart bypass surgeries to reroute blood around arteries that are severely blocked. But the vessels may be rejected, clot or perform inadequately, Nollert said.
He and other researchers cautioned that the study is preliminary and that the blood vessels generated from stem cells are about ten years away from being tested on people. Animal trials are the next step.