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Expert Rev Cardiovasc Ther. 2010 Oct;8(10):1433-45. doi: 10.1586/erc.10.121.

Engineering blood vessels using stem cells: innovative approaches to treat vascular disorders.

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Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Johns Hopkins Physical Sciences-Oncology Center, 3400 N Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA.


Vascular disease is the leading cause of mortality in the USA, providing the impetus for new treatments and technologies. Current therapies rely on the implantation of stents or grafts to treat injured blood vessels. However, these therapies may be immunogenic or may incompletely recover the functional integrity of the vasculature. In light of these shortcomings, cell-based therapies provide new treatment options to heal damaged areas with more suitable substitutes. Current clinical trials employing stem cell-based therapies involve the transfusion of harvested endothelial progenitor cells. While the results from these trials have been encouraging, utilizing tissue-engineered approaches could yield technologically advanced solutions. This article discusses engineered stem cell-based therapies from three angles: the differentiation of adult stem cells, such as mesenchymal stem cells and endothelial progenitor cells, into vascular lineages; investigation of human embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells as inexhaustible sources of vascular cells; and tissue-engineering approaches, which incorporate these vascular progenitor cells into biomimetic scaffolds to guide regeneration. The optimal solution to vascular disease lies at the interface of these technologies--embedding differentiated cells into engineered scaffolds to impart precise control over vascular regeneration.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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