In Summary
  • Scientists at Sichuan Revotek have made synthetic blood vessels that grow when implanted in the body, unlike tissue grafts used to correct faulty blood vessels.
  • The breakthrough gives hope to a future where people in need of organs will not have to wait for long for organs that their bodies could reject.

Researchers in China have made groundbreaking progress that raises hope for millions of people who suffer from cardiovascular disease.

Scientists at Sichuan Revotek, a Chinese biotechnology firm, have made synthetic blood vessels that grow when implanted in the body, unlike tissue grafts used to correct faulty blood vessels.

The scientists, led by James Kang, CEO of Sichuan Revotek, cut a portion of a monkey’s abdominal artery and replaced it with a substitute they had created in the lab. The replacement grew into place and functioned exactly like the artery. The experiment was performed on 30 monkeys with similar success.

This breakthrough could particularly help children born with heart defects, who could be treated with just one surgery rather than several.

Children born with faulty blood vessels need several surgeries because the blood vessels implanted do not grow in line with the rest of the body and must be replaced.

The stem cells used by the Chinese scientists are derived from fat cells, and not embryonic cells as happens with most stem cells. This is significant in helping with the acceptance of the technology because some religious orders object to usage of embryonic stem cells for medical purposes.

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