Research ArticleTissue Engineering

A completely biological “off-the-shelf” arteriovenous graft that recellularizes in baboons

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Science Translational Medicine  01 Nov 2017:
Vol. 9, Issue 414, eaan4209
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aan4209

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Growing grafts for hemodialysis

Patients undergoing hemodialysis for renal failure often receive an arteriovenous fistula, a connection between a vein and an artery. These surgical connections fail or cannot be attempted in some patients with compromised vasculature, who instead require vein grafts. As an alternative to autologous or synthetic grafts, Syedain et al. used a tissue engineering approach to generate vascular grafts from sacrificial fibrin scaffolds and human fibroblasts. Decellularized grafts were implanted into baboons and tested as hemodialysis access points. Over the course of 6 months, the grafts were recellularized with host cells and maintained sufficient burst pressure without evidence of immune rejection. Pending additional testing, these grafts represent an additional surgical option for hemodialysis access.