World's Thinnest Artificial Blood Vessels Grown & Tested Inside Rats

Japanese researchers have developed the world's thinnest artificial blood vessels by growing the exceedingly narrow tubules underneath the skin of lab rats. The team of researchers at the National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Centre in Osaka, Japan was lead by Yasuhide Nakayama of the NCCC's biomedical engineering materials laboratory.


Artificial Blood Vessels Of Unusually Small Size


“Our technology is already complete,” stated Nakayama. “We aim to start clinical applications within one or two years.” Nakayama's bold confidence in the new medical technology stems from the team's overcoming the main stumbling block to effective artificial blood vessels: blood cells tend to adhere to the linings of conventional artificial blood vessels; quickly clogging them and blocking blood flow.

The researchers at NCCC solved the problem by employing lab rats to grow the artificial blood vessels, which at a mere 0.6 millimeter in diameter are the thinnest in the world. The procedure involved superfine stainless steel rods coated with silicon being implanted under the skin of laboratory rats. After two months later, the team observed superfine collagen tubes forming around the silicon-coated rods.



No Clumping, Clotting or Clogging

Once the rods were removed from the rats and the collagen tubules gently teased from their inorganic scaffolding, researchers transplanted them into other rats and monitored blood flow through the tubes over the next six months. Not only was blood flow consistent over the observation period, inspection of the tubules revealed no signs of clumping, clotting or clogging.

Should further testing and trials prove successful, this innovative and promising method of creating exceptionally thin artificial blood vessels should prove beneficial in treating a wide range of medical conditions. (via BERNAMA, image vis WSJ)