Wayne State University Team Publishes Method in JoVE Video Journal to Create Customizable Blood Vessels Using 3D Printing

The method of engineering vascular grafts that my research team at Wayne State University developed may lead to a profound difference in the way coronary heart disease is treated.

A research team led by Mai Lam, Ph.D., published a method to engineer scalable and customizable vascular grafts in JoVE’s Video Journal, the world’s first peer-reviewed scientific video journal. The article demonstrates a method that may lead to new and improved ways of treating coronary artery disease (CAD). Lam is an assistant professor at the Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Cardiovascular Research Institute in the Wayne State University School of Medicine.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women worldwide, according to the American Heart Association’s 2016 Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics Update. Coronary artery disease occurs when plaque builds up inside the coronary arteries. Over time, CAD can weaken the heart muscle and lead to heart failure and arrhythmias.

Current treatments for CAD frequently involve harvesting a patient’s own blood vessels as graft material for bypass surgery. Frequently, ill patients do not have viable vessels to donate autologously. Even when patient blood vessels can be harvested, the donor site causes considerable additional harm and has a serious risk for infection.

While other methods exist for engineering vascular grafts, these methods are not easily scalable to produce grafts in the variety of sizes that clinicians need to treat individual patients. Lam’s published video article demonstrates how engineered blood vessels can be readily manufactured in a variety of dimensions and lengths to meet the needs of the clinic and patient. An additional benefit of Lam’s method is that vascular grafts…

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