Long-lasting blood vessel repair in animals via stem cells

Stem cell researchers at Emory University School of Medicine have made an advance toward having a long-lasting “repair caulk” for blood vessels. The research could form the basis of a treatment for peripheral artery disease, derived from a patient’s own cells. Their results were recently published in the journal Circulation.

A team led by Young-sup Yoon, MD, PhD developed a new method for generating endothelial cells, which make up the lining of blood vessels, from human induced pluripotent stem cells.. When endothelial cells are surrounded by a supportive gel and implanted into mice with damaged blood vessels, they become part of the animals’ blood vessels, surviving for more than 10 months.

“We tried several different gels before finding the best one,” Yoon says. “This is the part that is my dream come true: the endothelial cells are really contributing to endogenous vessels. When I’ve shown these results to people in the field, they say ‘Wow.'”

Yoon is professor of medicine (cardiology) at Emory University School of Medicine and in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory. The first author of the paper is postdoctoral fellow Shin-Jeong Lee, PhD, now at Yonsei University School of Medicine in Seoul, where Yoon has a joint appointment. Dr. Yoon is also a faculty member in the MSP program.

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