Tech&Innovation

Electronic blood vessels that are versatile and biodegradable

Electronic Blood Vessels to the Rescue - IEEE Spectrum

(Photo: Xingyu Jiang/MatterA flexible and biodegradable electronic blood vessel.)

Researchers have created electronic blood vessels which after implantation, can be actively tuned to address subtle changes in the body. The blood vessels — made of a versatile and biodegradable metal-polymer conductor membrane — mimic natural blood vessels, were conductive in in vitro experiments, and were able to replace main arteries in rabbits effectively.

Electronic blood vessels have been developed by researchers in China and Switzerland that can be actively calibrated to resolve subtle body changes after implantation. The blood vessels — made of a versatile and biodegradable metal-polymer conductor membrane — mimic natural blood vessels, were conductive in in vitro experiments, and were able to replace main arteries in rabbits effectively.

A number of TEBVs that provide mechanical support for hard-to-treat blockages of tiny blood vessels in patients with cardiovascular disease have been established in previous studies. But these TEBVs have limitations: they are unable to proactively help repair blood vessel tissue and also induce inflammation in response to blood flow, unlike natural tissue. “None of the existing small-diameter TEBVs has met the demands of treating cardiovascular diseases,” Jiang says. Jiang and colleagues manufactured biodegradable electronic blood vessels using a cylindrical rod to roll up a metal-polymer conductor membrane made of poly(L-lactide-co-ε-caprolactone) to surpass the limitations of current technologies. They showed that electrical stimulation from the blood vessel increased the proliferation and migration of endothelial cells in a wound healing model in the laboratory, indicating that electrical stimulation could promote new endothelial blood vein development.

While these electronic blood vessels showed promise as surrogate arteries in rabbits, Jiang admits that more work must be done before the technology, including long-term safety tests in larger cohorts of rabbits and other animals, is ready for human testing. Additionally, the electronic blood vessels will need to be combined with smaller electronics than the electroporation system used in this study in order to be suitable for long-term implantation.

source : Shiyu Cheng, Chen Hang, Li Ding, Liujun Jia, Lixue Tang, Lei Mou, Jie Qi, Ruihua Dong, Wenfu Zheng, Yan Zhang, Xingyu Jiang. Electronic Blood VesselMatter, 2020; DOI: 10.1016/j.matt.2020.08.029

Categories: Tech&Innovation