For the first time, scientists have given several diabetic patients blood vessels grown in a lab from donated skin cells.
The work is a key step toward creating a supply of ready-to-use veins and arteries that could be implanted in dialysis patients, soldiers with damaged limbs, children with heart defects, people having heart bypass surgery and others.
The blood vessels are made by a California company, Cytograft Tissue Engineering Inc. Three dialysis patients in Poland have received them so far, and they are working well two to eight months later. A larger study in Europe is planned.
The research is considered so promising that the American Heart Association featured it Monday in the first of a new series of webcasts about cutting-edge science.