Off-the-Shelf Blood Vessels: New Tool for Heart Bypass Grafts

Institution: Michigan Technological University
Funders (3)
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Why This Project Is Important 

For the thousands of patients every year who need a coronary artery bypass, autologous grafting is the golden standard. In this procedure, veins are harvested from other areas of a patient's own body, reducing the risk of medical complications. But for those ineligible for autologous grafts, a second, more problematic method is currently used.

Project Description 

Research in cardiovascular tissue engineering has contributed significantly to successful regeneration of large-diameter vessels, but not small-diameter (less than five mm) vessels. Currently, use of these smaller vessels frequently leads to thrombosis and aneurism. Our research aims to provide solutions for the limitations of existing small-diameter engineered vascular grafts. With additional support, an off-the-shelf, tissue-engineered blood vessel will be designed. This means that our final product can be stockpiled in hospitals for immediate use in any patient, with a lower risk of biological rejection. We have already been able to prove the feasibility of developing a scaffold-free (completely biological), and mechanically strong, small-diameter vascular graft by manipulating human stem cells. Now we seek support to move this technology toward clinical trials and commercialization.

Meet the Researcher

Feng Zhao

Zhao's lab seeks to address the challenges associated with engineering completely biological cardiovascular tissues for regenerative medicine applications. We are developing innovative cell therapies using stem cell sheets to create 3D scaffold-free tissue constructs with the structural similarity, necessary mechanical characteristics, and sufficient immuno-compatibility to facilitate functional in vivo integration. We are also trying to recreate biomimetic microenvironment for 3D tissue development by precisely manipulating biomaterials, oxygen tension, and hydrodynamic culture conditions. The underlying mechanisms that regulate the tissue development are under ongoing investigation by the experimental replication of in vivo cell-cell and cell-environment interactions.

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of $10,000 fund goal
The average donation for this project is $150
days left
Funding is Closed

What Your Donation Can Help Us Do: 

  • Help develop a safer, small-diameter blood vessel for use in heart bypass surgeries.

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