Posted on 2 November 2020
Longevity briefs provides a short summary of a novel research, medicine, or technology that caught the attention of our researchers in Oxford, due to its potential to improve our health, wellbeing, and longevity.
Why is this research important: Bioengineering combines the science of biology, engineering and technology to solve problems involving biological material. Many believe bioengineering promises a bright future for improving human health.
A goal of scientists for a number of years has been to replace defective blood vessels with artificial blood vessels to help treat conditions such as cardiovascular disease, kidney failure and even neurological conditions.
What did the researchers do: Two teams of researchers from China and Switzerland have done just that, collaborating to engineer the world’s first electronic blood vessel.
This medical device consists of biodegradable polymer and a conductor membrane made from a metal-polymer that can imitate the function of a healthy blood vessel.
Key takeaway(s) from this research: The electronic blood vessel has been tested out in rabbits, where it replaced a major artery that transports blood to the brain. The study showed that after several months the blood flow facilitated by the device was adequate and there were no signs of inflammation caused by the implant.
Not only can these electronic blood vessels be used to mimic the primary function of blood cells, to facilitate the flow of blood, but they have also been utilised to aid wound healing, drug delivery and gene therapy.