Scientists grow human blood vessels from stem cells in a dish

Researchers grew blood vessels from stem cells in a dish in the lab, pictured in this illustration, that look and behave like the ones found in our bodies. (IMBA)

(Emily Chung / CBC News) — Scientists say, for the first time, they have grown human blood vessels from scratch in the lab that look and behave like the ones in our bodies.

“The structure looks the same and the main genes which are expressed in our bodies and in these capillaries are very, very similar,” said Josef Penninger, senior author of the new research published last week in the journal Nature.

The artificially cultured blood vessel “organoids” or mini-organs are already starting to help scientists better understand some of the damage caused by diabetes, he and his colleagues report.

In the future, they could be used to help researchers understand and develop treatments for other diseases such Alzheimer’s, cancer and strokes, or transplanted into live humans to heal or replace damaged tissues, said Penninger. (…)

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