The first vein grown from a patient’s own stem cells has been successfully transplanted. A Swedish team, led by Michael Olausson of the University of Gothenburg removed a 3.5-inch vein segment from a donor, stripped all the living cells, and coaxed stem cell’s from a 10-year-old girl to grow around the remaining scaffolding structure. Two weeks later, the vat vein was transplanted in the girl.
Using a patient’s own stem cells results in much less of a chance of rejection and much less dependence upon anti-rejection drugs.
Olausson and his team published their findings in The Lancet, writing that their success “... establishes the feasibility and safety of a novel paradigm for treatment. Our work opens interesting new areas of research, including trying to reproduce arteries for surgical use in patients.” An accompanying commentary notes that “... one-off experiences such as the procedure they describe need to be converted into full clinical trials in key target populations.”
The procedure holds great promise for hemodialysis patients, such as myself, that require strong, healthy arterialized veins for dialysis access and heart bypass patients.