Also part of the UPMC family:

Artificial Blood Vessel Research at the McGowan Institute

David Vorp, PhD, and his team of researchers are:

  • Studying the use of tissue engineering of tubular structures to form scaffolds that can help repair the blood vessels.
  • Designing a small diameter tissue-engineered vascular graft to treat heart and blood vessel diseases.

The approach is to use a person’s own stem cells and incorporate them in a biodegradable polyurethane-based scaffold. William Wagner, PhD, McGowan Institute director, made the scaffold in the lab.

The stem cells then undergo ample in vivo remodeling to create a native-like blood vessel.

Artificial blood vessels may be effective in small diameter arterial bypass procedures or vein access for dialysis.

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) taken from people at high risk for cardiovascular disease — such as the elderly and diabetics — may be dysfunctional.

Dr. Vorp and scientists have created artificial stem cells (artMSCs). They take the biochemicals from normal functioning MSCs and enclose them in culture into biodegradable microspheres similar in size to actual MSCs.

ArtMSC technology, when available, will apply to all patients — even those with dysfunctional MSCs.