Vascular disorders affect circulation and are a disease with a great incidence in clinical medicine. There are 100,000 miles of blood vessels in the adult human body (read HERE). Any problem along with this vast network of blood vessels – the vascular system – can cause severe pain, disability and death. The application of biotechnological methods to repair and/or replace arteries has shown positive progress in recent decades.
Advances in bioregeneration of patients’ own blood vessels
One example of this is the development of a technique that allows blood vessels to be produced in the laboratory. Furthermore, next-generation techniques such as three-dimensional bioprinting of both cells and matrix may one day allow vessel production at accelerated speeds, possibly producing usable tissues in hours or days, rather than weeks or months. Microvascular and cardiac tissue engineering are also making important strides, pointing toward a future that could enable revascularization of solid organs. A review of the scientific and technological advance by Niklason and Lawson has now been published in Science, with special emphasis on the possibility of regenerating a patient’s own blood vessels and produce functional bioengineered arteries. With recent advances in the engineering of connective tissues, including arteries, we are on the cusp of seeing engineered human arteries become mainstays of surgical therapy for vascular disease. Progress in our understanding of physiology, cell biology, and biomanufacturing over the past several decades has made blood vessel bioregeneration possible. The authors also discuss how blood vessels, when combined with suitable substrates to stimulate tissue growth under conditions that mimic the physiology of the human circulatory system. According to the authors, these experiments open up a promising avenue for the treatment of vascular diseases in the near future.