Made to Order "Test Tube" Blood Vessels On the Way After British Medical Breakthrough

By Sam Gibbs on at

Boffins from the University of Cambridge have managed to grow blood vessels in the lab from a patient’s own skin cells, which could mean veins and arteries could be grown for life-saving surgery on an industrial scale.

Currently veins and other blood vessels are transplanted from somewhere else on the body for operations like a heart bypass; now it seems as if we’ll be able to grow new ones for the job and save the risky vein removals from the legs.

Cardiovascular disease is a big killer in the UK, with heart attacks a worry for many. The ability to grow multiple types of blood vessel is being heralded as a massive breakthrough that could lead to some brand new, safer, nd better treatments for a disease that kills around one in five men in the UK.

I personally know five people that could directly benefit from this kind of test tube-grown blood vessel. I just hope it’s put into mass production, and made available on the NHS, before they need it.

Now, if they’d like to turn their attention to growing some other replacement body bits too, I could do with a new liver, and maybe even a third arm -- you never know when that could come in handy. [The Telegraph]

Image credit: Scientist from Shutterstock