Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), University Medical Centre Utrecht (UMC) and the TU/e spin-off Xeltis are working together on a kidney dialysis project worth a total value of four million euros financed by the research finance provider ZonMw and the Kidney Foundation (Nierstichting).
The five year project to generate autologous blood vessels for human application will be led by Patricia Dankers PhD Assistant Professor at the Institute for Complex Molecular Systems and the Department of Biomedical Engineering, TU/e.
The TU/e research team led by Dankers includes Professor Frank Baaijens and Professor Carlijn Bouten will collaborate with the UMC Utrecht team led by Professor Marianne Verhaar, vascular surgeon Raechel Toorop and Martijn Cox from Xeltisand. The TU/e will finance two PhD candidates from its Impuls programme.
Dankers’ team intends to work on autologous blood vessels to make bypasses. These will use tubes made of a special material, based on supramolecular interactions. The tubes are inserted by means of an operation, and are immediately able to act as blood vessels. The material transmits bio-active signals to the cells, so these will gradually form a new blood vessel. At the same time the inserted tube slowly dissolves, and ultimately disappears, while a new blood vessel made of autologous cells is formed.
The researchers intend to make both the tube and the new ‘genuine’ blood vessel in a way that will prevent blockages. Their work builds further on the knowledge that has already been developed at TU/e in growing autologous pulmonary heart valves.
Photo: Bart van Overbeeke
In the picture: Patricia Dankers