Researchers create device to replicate conditions in blood vessels after grafts

Tohid Didar and Jeff Weitz had a solution, but they also had a problem.

Didar, an Associate Professor of Engineering at McMaster University and Weitz, a hematologist, professor of medicine and executive director of the Thrombosis & Atherosclerosis Research Institute, had collaborated to create a novel and highly promising material to improve the success of vascular grafts, but they needed a better way to test how well it worked.

Their revolutionary idea was an engineered non-stick surface combined with biological components that can repel all but a targeted group of cells — those that form the natural lining of the body’s veins and arteries.

The non-stick material prevents proteins and cells from sticking to the inner walls of blood vessels, where they can build into menacing blood clots.

That innovation may revolutionize blood vessel grafts, which are needed in transplants, bypasses and other surgeries, as a way to route blood around blocked areas, or to replace damaged or leaking blood vessels themselves.

Didar, Weitz and their collaborators had already shown their new material worked with static blood samples, but before they could test the technology in animals or humans, they needed to be as certain as possible it could work under flow conditions similar to those which occur in arteries or veins.

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