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World’s first artificial blood vessels from ostrich carotid arteries!

Director Tetsuji Yamaoka and Research Staff Atsushi Mahara at the Department of Biomedical Engineering in National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center Research Institute (Suita City, Osaka) succeeded in creating long and small-diameter artificial blood vessels to be used for the treatment of myocardial infarction and other diseases by using ostrich carotid arteries. In their transplantation experiment with a pig, the team proved for the first time ever that their artificial blood vessels, with no occlusion, can be used without using an anticoagulant. The world’s first successful transplantation of a long bypass in a pig, an animal larger than a rat that has often been used in animal experiments, indicates the potential of the team’s artificial blood vessels’ clinical application for the treatment of myocardial infarction.

To develop artificial blood vessels with an inner diameter of approximately 2 mm and length of approximately 30 cm, the team first completely removed ostrich-derived cell components from an ostrich’s carotid artery so that proteins similar to those of humans alone remained. Furthermore, they arranged peptide molecules that functioned to prevent blood from coagulating and to regenerate the vascular endothelium inside the blood vessel.

In bypass surgery, which is performed to bypass occluded cardiac arteries leading to myocardial infarction or other factor, the blood vessel must have an inner diameter around 2 mm and length of at least 10 cm. Artificial vessels made from synthetic fiber or resin require an inner diameter of at least 5 mm, and even artificial vessels made from acellular human or animal blood vessels require an inner diameter of at least 4 mm. For this reason, as many as 20,000 bypass surgeries have been performed in Japan in which the patient’s own blood vessels from his/her chest or legs were used, rather than artificial blood vessels.

Director Yamaoka said, “With our success this time, blood vessels with an appropriate inner diameter and the required length for respective surgeries have become available. The use of our artificial blood vessels can be expected for the treatment of impaired blood flow in legs caused by diabetes and other disorders. We would like to aim for clinical application in three years.”
Contact : National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center,
       Department of Biomedical Engineering Research Institute
Phone or E-mail +81-6-6833-5012
Website http://www.ncvc.go.jp/English/res/bio_enq.html