Pitt | Swanson Engineering
Development of a Stem Cell-Based Tissue Engineered Vascular Graft


Our lab has developed a series of technologies, including a rotational seeding device and a bilayered elastomeric scaffold, which serve as the basis of our small-diameter tissue-engineered vascular graft (TEVG). We have explored the use of a variety of mesenchymal stem cells for our TEVG, including cells from bone marrow, muscle, and most recently fat. The latter cells, termed adipose-derived stem cells (ADSC), can be obtained from the waste product of patients undergoing elective liposuction.

Our current work is focused on advancing our TEVG towards clinical translation utilizing an autologous (i.e. “self-into-self”) and addressing practical barriers. As a first step we have utilized ADSC sourced from patients in demographics typically associated with cardiovascular risk such as diabetic and elderly individuals. In vitro we have shown that ADSC from healthy and diabetic (but not elderly) patients produce factors essential for TEVG regeneration including stimulation of smooth muscle cell migration. Implantation testing of ADSC-derived TEVG is currently underway to see if cells from different donor groups have different remodeling potential in vivo.

Related publications

1.    Soletti L, Nieponice A, Hong Y, Ye SH, Stankus JJ, Wagner WR, Vorp DA, “In Vivo Performance of a Phospholipid-Coated Bioerodable Elastomeric Graft for Small-Diameter Vascular Applications”,  J Biomed Mat Res: Part A, 2011 Feb;96(2):436-48, PMID: 21171163, PMCID: PMC3178339

2.    He W, Nieponice A, Hong Y, Wagner W, Vorp DA, “Rapid Engineered Small Diameter Vascular Grafts from Smooth Muscle Cells”, Cardiovascular Engineering and Technology, 2011 Sept; 2(3)149-159, DOI: 10.1007/s13239-011-0044-8

3.    Udelsman B, Hibino N, Villalona GA, McGillicuddy EA, Nieponice A, Sakamoto Y, Matsuda S, Vorp DA, Shinoka T, Breuer CJul;17(7):731-6, PMID 21410308, PMCID: PMC3124112.

4.    Krawiec JT, Vorp DA, “Adult Stem Cell-Based Tissue Engineered Blood Vessels: A Review”, Biomaterials, 2012 Apr; 33(12): 3388-400, PMID 22306022

5.    Krawiec JT, Weinbaum JS, St. Croix CM, Phillippi JA, Watkins SC, Rubin JP, Vorp DA, “A Cautionary Tale for Autologous Vascular Tissue Engineering: Impact of Human Demographics on the Ability of Adipose-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells to Recruit and Differentiate Into Smooth Muscle Cells”, Tissue Eng: Part A, 2015 Feb;21(3-4):426-37, PMID: 25119584