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Researchers devise technique to increase production of blood vessel cells

A new method developed by scientists at Weill Cornell Medical College to boost endothelial cell growth may someday be used to create blood vessels in engineered tissue or resupply blood to damaged organs in patients.

Technology Review reports:

Once stem cells turn into endothelial cells, it's difficult to make them stay that way. Getting endothelial cells to expand to numbers great enough to engineer functional artificial blood vessels has been another major roadblock.

While previous methods produced about 0.2 endothelial cells for every embryonic stem cell, [researchers] have found a much more efficient way to make committed endothelial cells. The new technique yields seven endothelial cells for every stem cells.

Joseph Wu, MD, an assistant professor of medicine and radiology at Stanford, tells Technology Review the research could have real clinical significance.

This new protocol is a significant advance, and a very good amplification process, because in order to translate therapy to humans and animals, you have to scale up the numbers. Heart grafts to treat cardiovascular disease, for example, would likely require 20 million to 50 million cells.

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