Artificial blood vessels may one day reduce some complications of dialysis
treatment in people with kidney failure, according to the results of early
research in animals.
These so-called "off-the-shelf" blood vessels were implanted in the primates
for six months and withstood frequent needle punctures, were not rejected by the
immune system, remained free of blood clots, and were safely stored in a
refrigerator for up to one year, the researchers said.
The findings were presented as part of the American Heart
Association's Emerging Science Series. Based on the results, the researchers
have started a clinical trial in Europe and have received US Food and Drug
Administration authorization for a clinical trial in the United States.
How they're created
The artificial blood vessels are created by placing human aorta cells into a
biodegradable mesh tube. The aorta is the largest artery in the human body.
Within two months, a new blood vessel has developed and the mesh structure
"Eventually, off-the-shelf blood vessel grafts might be used in kidney
dialysis patients and potentially in many vascular procedures, such as bypassing
blocked arteries in the legs, repairing vessel damage after trauma, or in
coronary bypass operations," study lead author Shannon Dahl, co-founder and vice
president of scientific operations at Humacyte, Inc., in Research Triangle Park,
NC, said in an American Heart Association news release.
Humacyte funded the study.
Before kidney failure patients begin dialysis, doctors surgically create a
connection between an artery and a vein in the arm. But about half of kidney
patients don't have healthy veins, so a synthetic blood vessel has to be used,
These synthetic blood vessels have many complications and about half fail
within a year, and the patients have to undergo surgery to replace them.
"The [new] artificial vessels had excellent resistance to obstruction and
clotting and tolerated the repeated needle punctures required for dialysis,"
Dahl concluded in the news release.
Experts note that success in animal research often does not translate into
success in human research. And the data and conclusions of unpublished research
should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
The National Kidney Foundation has more about dialysis.