What if we could replace a patient’s damaged blood vessels with brand new ones produced in a laboratory? This is the challenge set by Inserm researcher Nicolas L’Heureux, who is working on the human extracellular matrix – the structural support of human tissues that is found around practically all of the body’s cells.
In a study published in Acta Biomaterialia(“Human textiles: A cell-synthesized yarn as a truly “bio” material for tissue engineering applications”), L’Heureux and his colleagues at the Tissue Bioengineering unit (Inserm/Université de Bordeaux) describe how they have cultivated human cells in the laboratory to obtain extracellular matrix deposits high in collagen – a structural protein that constitutes the mechanical scaffold of the human extracellular matrix.

“We have obtained thin but highly robust extracellular matrix sheets that can be used as a construction material to replace blood vessels”, L’Heureux explains.

Image Credit:  Nicolas L’Heureux)

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