Plug and play: an innovative bio-artificial artery for vascular reconstruction

Lead Research Organisation: University of Strathclyde
Department Name: Biomedical Engineering


Blockage of arteries leads to life threatening events, including heart attack and leg amputation. The best treatment is to replace the diseased artery with a healthy blood vessel taken from another part of the patient. However, many patients do not have suitable blood vessels. Prosthetic vascular grafts (essentially plastic tubes) can be used to replace big arteries, such as the aorta, but have not proved very successful as a substitute for smaller arteries in the heart and legs. A potential solution is to use human cells to build a bio-artificial artery. However, none of the currently available bio-artificial arteries are as durable as natural arteries. This application combines expertise in vascular biology and bioengineering to develop a bio-artificial artery that mimics the natural artery. Comprising only human cells and vascular matrix proteins, but no synthetic materials, the proposed TEBV will particularly benefit elder patients with poor healing capability and young children who require vascular implants to growth with the body. Successful development of a bio-artificial artery promises a potential new treatment for life-threating vascular diseases.

Technical Summary

The shortage of autologous blood vessels for vascular constructive surgery has stimulated research into vascular tissue engineering. Natural artery provides the best template for tissue-engineered blood vessel (TEBV). However, previous designs of TEBV failed to replicate the mechanical and functional features of a natural artery, and were associated with a high incidence of thrombosis, stenosis and aneurysm. This investigation addresses the hypothesis that a viable, artery-like TEBV, generated using a combination of multidisciplinary approaches, exerts superior post-grafting performance comparable to artery graft. This will be achieved by building on an existing collaboration combining expertise in vascular biology and bioengineering. The proposed study aims to investigate the transnational potential of this TEBV as a vascular bypass graft, with a set of objectives to optimise the cell viability, investigate its ability to adapt the arterial pressure/flow and achieve artery-like post-grafting performance. Unlike previous bio-artificial grafts, the proposed TEBV will require minimum post-grafting remodelling and function well even in patients with severe cardiovascular disease.


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Description Development of a functional organ-in-lab model of human vascular aging
Amount £63,632 (GBP)
Organisation University of Strathclyde 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom