At team of scientists at Shanghai University has created artificial blood vessels by combining micro-imprinting and electro-spinning techniques. During this bio-printing process vascular grafts composed of three layers are created, providing mechanical strength and promoting growth of new cells.
During a surgical bypass procedure the blood flow gets redirected to replace an unhealthy or clogged blood vessel. Traditional grafts usually derive form existing vessels from the patient’s own body or from a suitable donor but are therefore limited in supply.
Researchers have been dedicating a lot of work towards the development of artificial vessels, that allow new cells to grow around them while degrading slowly at the same time. The result would be a completely new grown vessel that mimics natural ones.
“The composite vascular grafts could be better candidates for blood vessel repair,” explains Yuanyuan Liu, associate professor at the Rapid Manufacturing Engineering Center. However, quite some time will pass before we will see those artificial blood vessels being implanted into humans. The next step for Liu and her research team is to test the 3D printed vascular grafts in animal models.