Artificial tissue, now a reality

People with coronary artery disease can now have a celebration as a team of London scientists came up with artificial vessels that could replace the constricting coronary arteries. The details of this breakthrough(also called cyborg engineering) were published in the June issue of Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) journal.

"Obviously this advance could be a medical breakthrough that saves millions of lives around the world," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal.

The scientists incorporated human smooth muscle into an artificial elastic scaffold made up of some kind of hydrocarbon. As they passed fluid through the graft, its performance improved. Scientists explained the pulsating movement stimulated human cells to release proteins that help in better adherence and bonding.

"The notion that any body part could be engineered in a lab, attach to existing tissue 'naturally,' and grow stronger as it is being used is something thought completely impossible just 20 years ago," Weissmann added. "It is only a matter of time before human tissues can be engineered to be at least as good as the originals, and this study moves us toward that reality."

Coronary artery disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and coronary artery bypass is the most common surgery performed. In this surgery, a healthy artery or vein is taken from another part of the body to provide blood an alternate route into the heart. The big advantage with this discovery is that the surgeons no more have to cut off a healthy vessel to make a graft. This will no doubt make coronary by pass surgery safer, easier and quicker.

Written by Dr. Suvash Sreshtha

Reviewed by Nadia Ramlagan

Published by Pooja Ghatalia

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