Electronic blood vessels replace damaged ones, boosts healing, and more

October 6, 2020

Electronic blood vessels have been bioengineered by a group of scientists from China and Switzerland to facilitate the flow of blood. These blood vessels could also assist in drug delivery, wound healing and even gene therapy to play an active role in a patient’s recovery, compared to the “passive” implantable devices available today.

The flexible and biodegradable blood vessels are made of cylindrical rods which contain a metal-polymer conductor membrane. The circuitry within can be coordinated with other electronic devices to take on different tasks for each individual patient, such as electronically-controlled drug delivery.

In a wound healing model, the scientists demonstrated how the active electronic blood vessel could boost the proliferation and migration of endothelial cells from inside natural blood vessels to build new tissue; the electronic blood vessel was able to make cells more permeable and could deliver fluorescent protein DNA; and finally, was able to replace a key artery in rabbits that supplies blood to the brain, neck and face, with no reports of internal damage or inflammation.

The scientists first need to work on safety optimisations for the device, including minimised batteries and built-in control systems before it can be used in humans.

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Category: Features, Technology & Devices

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