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Human vessels from the 3D printer: Innovative research project receives further funding

Human vessels from the 3D printer: Innovative research project receives further funding

Tissue engineering: Bioreactor system inside the incubator

Bioartificial vascular prosthesis from the bioreactor

Vascular implants are a proven treatment for cardiovascular diseases. However, synthetically produced vascular implants harbour risks such as plaque formation, blood clots and infections. In addition, autologous vein implants are hardly available for many patients. In this context, the team led by Prof. Dr. Cornelia Blume from the Institute of Technical Chemistry at Leibniz University Hannover is developing a bioartificial vascular prosthesis based on biodegradable scaffold structures from the 3D printer and colonised with human cells from the peripheral blood.

The German Research Foundation (DFG) is now funding the project for three years with a sum of around 700,000 euros so that the researchers can further optimise the manufacturing process. The so-called tissue-engineered vascular grafts (TEVGs) are produced using a 3D printer and cultivated with a specially developed bioreactor that makes it possible to cultivate the scaffold structure with human cells under dynamic conditions. The aim is to produce bioartificial vascular prostheses of the highest quality, which are biomechanically resilient and have an antithrombogenic surface - comparable to the quality of human vessels.

The research team is based at the Lower Saxony Centre for Biomedical Engineering, Implant Research and Development (NIFE), which brings together the expertise of Leibniz University Hannover, Hannover Medical School and the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover Foundation. The project is being driven forward in close collaboration with the project partner for the clinical trial, Prof. Dr. Mathias Wilhelmi, Head Physician for Vascular Surgery at St. Bernward Hospital in Hildesheim and researcher at Hannover Medical School.

The continuation of this research project has the potential to take patient care in the field of vascular prosthetics a decisive step forward and increase the chances of safe and effective vascular implants.