Scientists have managed to grow perfect human blood vessels as organoids in a petri dish for the first time.

An organoid is a three-dimensional structure grown from stem cells that mimics an organ and can be used to study aspects of that organ in a petri dish.

The breakthrough engineering technology dramatically advances research of vascular diseases like diabetes.

Every single organ in our body is linked with the circulatory system. This could potentially allow researchers to unravel the causes and treatments for a variety of vascular diseases, from:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Wound healing problems
  • Stroke
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes

Diabetes is increasing at an alarming rate worldwide, already affecting at least 420 million people. Another 500 million people are estimated to be pre-diabetic.

Diabetes can lead to blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke or lower limb amputation.

Many of these diabetic symptoms are the consequence of changes in blood vessels, resulting in impaired blood circulation and oxygen supply of tissues.

Despite its prevalence, very little is known about the vascular changes arising from diabetes – in part because we lack human model systems that fully recapitulate these changes.

This limitation has slowed the development of much needed therapeutics.

Stem cells can help change that.

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