Tech.SightMEDICAL TECHNOLOGY

Replacement Arteries Made to Order

Science  19 Nov 1999:
Vol. 286, Issue 5444, pp. 1493-1494
DOI: 10.1126/science.286.5444.1493

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Summary

The formation of fatty plaques (atherosclerosis) that clog arteries is one of the most common forms of cardiovas-cular disease. The only permanent solu-tion is surgical replacement of diseased arteries with healthy autologous veins (that is, veins from the same patient). However, this type of surgery is only possible for patients with healthy veins. Thus, there has been increasing interest in using biological components to con-struct artificial blood vessels in the laboratory that faithfully mimic the properties of normal healthy arteries. In a lively TechView article, Laura Niklason discusses several new approaches to growing arteries in the laboratory and how each type of vessel withstands the rigors of arterial blood pressure when grafted into different animal models.