In a pioneering breakthrough, Duke University Hospital surgeons have implanted a bioengineered vein into a 62-year-old kidney dialysis patient as part of a U.S. clinical trial. The vein, created by Duke and bioengineering company Humacyte, was grown on a biodegradable mesh scaffold using human cells. Nutrients were pumped rhythmically into the vessel-shaped scaffold to simulate a beating heart. The vessel was later stripped of any biological material that could cause an immune response, leaving a life-like collagen vein.
If all goes well, these vessels will improve treatment for patients in need of synthetic grafts for blood access during dialysis, ideally with less chance of infection and other complications. In the future, the scientists envision such vessels being used in heart bypass patients and in those with blocked blood vessels in the legs and arms.
Surgeons at Duke University Hospital Implant Bioengineered Vein, Duke University Hospital, June 6, 2013