Scientists from Cambridge University have reported in Nature Biotechnology a breakthrough in turning skin cells into different types of vascular smooth muscle cells.
The new technology may one day lead to the opportunity of growing new blood vessels for patients whose own blood vessels are blocked due to atherosclerosis. The scientists, led by Dr Sanjay Sinha, used embryonic pluripotent stem cells that can be derived from a patient’s skin for their research.
The three different types of vascular smooth muscle cells that were created responded differently when exposed to substances which cause vascular disease. This could be a sign that a different embryonic origin of vascular smooth muscle cells may be a factor in the development of vascular diseases. Sinha and his group want to use their new technique to better understand vascular pathophysiology and explore new treatments.
Press release at the University of Cambridge: Smooth muscle cells created from patients’ skin cells
Abstract in Nature Biotechnology: Generation of human vascular smooth muscle subtypes provides insight into embryological origin–dependent disease susceptibility