A section of an engineered microvessel (Image: Y. Zheng, University of Washington)
Engineered microvessels can form bends and T-junctions, like this one. The blue dots are the nuclei of the cells in the vessel walls, and the red lines are the cell junctions. Smooth muscle cells (green) wrap and tighten around the vessels, just as they do in the human body (Image: Y. Zheng, U. of Washington)
Researchers made a functional microvessel that spells the letters "UW." The white bar measures 100 micrometers, about the width of a human hair (Image: Y. Zheng, University of Washington)
A team of bioengineers at the University of Washington has developed the first structure for growing small human blood vessels in the laboratory. The vessels behave remarkably like those in a living human and offer a better and much more modular approach to studying blood-related diseases, testing drugs and, one day, growing human tissues for transplant.
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