Dr. Joseph M. Perlman Advanced Plastic Surgery Centre

A San Francisco-based company is producing laboratory-grown blood vessels, which can be used to help diabetics, amputee soldiers, and patients undergoing heart surgery, among others.

Cytograft Tissue Engineering Inc. has designed these lab-grown veins and arteries, which are free from artificial substances. According to Todd McAllister, his company makes use of cells removed from the donor’s hand. They grow and develop these cells into tissues, which in turn are rolled up to form blood vessels.

It is reported that three patients from Poland have received the world’s first lab-grown blood vessels from Cytograft.

Mr. McAllister says that this project is still in its early stages. Their goal is to have a wide supply of blood vessels of various sizes and shapes.

Diabetics usually experience kidney failure and undergo dialysis, which may result in complications in their blood vessels due to blood clots and infection. With over 400,000 Americans undergoing dialysis in addition to 160,000 people who have lost their limbs due to poor blood circulation and nearly 300,000 individuals having bypass surgery, these lab-grown blood vessels can surely help a great deal for these patients.

“There are literally hundreds of thousands of patients that could use this technology,” Mr. McAllister says.

Former president of the American Heart Association Dr. Timothy Gardner also expressed his delight over the use of donor cells in developing these lab-grown blood vessels, saying, “It provides the option or the opportunity for off-the-shelf graft availability as opposed to something that has to be built from the individual’s own cell.”

Currently, Cytograpt is continuing its research in Europe and South America.