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First Vessel Graft Grown From Kidney Patients' Own Cells
Date:4/23/2009

Achievement could aid dialysis and might be replicated for heart disease, scientists say,,,,

THURSDAY, April 23 (HealthDay News) -- The successful use of a patient's own skin cells to grow tissue-engineered shunts for dialysis could portend a revolution in kidney care, researchers say.

The problem right now is that about half of all dialysis patients have their blood filtered three times a week via a plastic tube that creates a shunt -- a connection between the patient's arteries and veins. These plastic tubes fail more often than shunts made from the patient's own vein, but only about half of patients have veins that are suitable for creating a shunt.

The new technology, outlined in the April 25 issue of The Lancet, may offer a solution for those patients.

"This was the first demonstration that a tissue-engineered vascular graft that did not have any sort of synthetic support could provide the strength and durability for long-term implant," said lead researcher Todd N. McAllister, from Cytograft Tissue Engineering in Novato, Calif., the creators of the new shunts.

"The tissue-engineered vascular graft actually appeared slightly better" than using either a plastic tube or the patient's vein, he added.

McAllister's team used the engineered tissue shunts in 10 patients undergoing dialysis for end-stage kidney disease. All the patients either had an earlier graft fail or were going to need a plastic tube graft to continue treatment.

The researchers first took cells from the back of the patient's hand. These were then grown in a lab, producing a tissue-engineered sheet of cells. This sheet was then formed into a vessel and implanted in the patient, in much the same way a plastic shunt would be.

The procedure does not use any synthetic material such as plastics, which have been used in other attempts to create engineered tissue.

The researchers tracked the safet
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