Bioengineered Arteries – Challenges

ambience: Heartbeat


In a coronary bypass operation, it’s crucial to have arteries that can stand up to the constant demand of blood pumping through our circulatory system. Five years ago, a team of scientists embarked on a quest to create bioengineered arteries that would be grown from a patient’s own cells. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by DuPont. Led by Laura Niklason of Duke University, the team has encountered many obstacles.

“The biggest challenge of our work is taking the individual cells from a patient, and coaxing them to grow into a tubular shape very much like a real artery. Our arteries are very strong things. They have to withstand the pulsation of the heart for many years. Individual cells grown in the laboratory do not have much mechanical strength, and so our added challenge is convincing the cells to form a strong structure.”

To create the foundation for the new artery, Niklason placed the cells on a biodegradable mesh-like tube. A culture medium was pumped through the tubing in order to feed the cells and help them multiply. It turns out that this pumping was crucial.

“One of the key advances in our work was the development of a laboratory system that mimics the action of the human heart on blood vessels. When the human heart pumps, it stretches the arteries in a cyclic fashion, and encourages them to grow stronger. We created a bench top system which mimics the pumping action of the human heart. The vessels that are grown in the system that mimics the pumping action of the heart develop a stronger vessel wall.”

Laura Niklason believes that in ten to twenty years we’ll be seeing this technique used to grow human arteries to be used in coronary bypass operations. Pulse of the Planet is presented by DuPont, bringing you the miracles of science, with additional support provided by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

Bioengineered Arteries - Challenges

Scientists have developed bioengineered arteries to be used in coronary bypass surgery. But before the arteries can be transplanted, they have to get some "exercise".
Air Date:10/10/2000
Scientist:
Transcript:

ambience: Heartbeat


In a coronary bypass operation, it's crucial to have arteries that can stand up to the constant demand of blood pumping through our circulatory system. Five years ago, a team of scientists embarked on a quest to create bioengineered arteries that would be grown from a patient's own cells. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by DuPont. Led by Laura Niklason of Duke University, the team has encountered many obstacles.

"The biggest challenge of our work is taking the individual cells from a patient, and coaxing them to grow into a tubular shape very much like a real artery. Our arteries are very strong things. They have to withstand the pulsation of the heart for many years. Individual cells grown in the laboratory do not have much mechanical strength, and so our added challenge is convincing the cells to form a strong structure."

To create the foundation for the new artery, Niklason placed the cells on a biodegradable mesh-like tube. A culture medium was pumped through the tubing in order to feed the cells and help them multiply. It turns out that this pumping was crucial.

"One of the key advances in our work was the development of a laboratory system that mimics the action of the human heart on blood vessels. When the human heart pumps, it stretches the arteries in a cyclic fashion, and encourages them to grow stronger. We created a bench top system which mimics the pumping action of the human heart. The vessels that are grown in the system that mimics the pumping action of the heart develop a stronger vessel wall."

Laura Niklason believes that in ten to twenty years we'll be seeing this technique used to grow human arteries to be used in coronary bypass operations. Pulse of the Planet is presented by DuPont, bringing you the miracles of science, with additional support provided by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.