Published May 18, 2020
SUNY Distinguished Professor, Stelios T. Andreadis was awarded a $2.4M R01 grant from the National Heart and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health to investigate the role of the immune system in successful implantation of tissue engineered vascular grafts that were developed in his laboratory.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. In particular, coronary artery disease is the most common disorder, with over 350,000 bypass grafting procedures performed every year and an estimated total cost of $26 billion annually, according to the AHA. Tissue engineering approaches using native or synthetic scaffolds and even scaffold-free strategies have developed functional and implantable vascular grafts that have been tested in small and large animal models, as well as in human clinical trials. Recently, the Andreadis laboratory reported successful development of acellular (cell-free) tissue engineered vessels (A-TEV) based on small intestinal submucosa (SIS) that was functionalized sequentially with heparin and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). A-TEV were implanted successfully into the arterial circulation of small (mice) and large (sheep) animal models, demonstrating patency (the condition of grafts being open and unobstructed), endothelialization (the covering of the lumen with endothelial cells) and regeneration of contractile vascular wall.
With this grant, they will investigate the role of the body’s inflammatory response in endothelialization, patency and long-term remodeling of these vascular grafts. Their work may also provide means for the repair of cardiovascular tissues in-vivo following endothelial disruption by disease or injury (e.g. catheterization). Given the importance of the inflammatory response for regeneration of all tissues in the body, their research is expected to have broader implications for the field of regenerative medicine.