Source: Mike Williams, Rice University; R&D // Photo: Mature blood vessels formed in hyrdogel from amniotic fluid, courtesy of Jacot Lab

(HOUSTON, Texas) — Rice Univ. and Texas Children’s Hospital scientists are using stem cells from amniotic fluid to promote the growth of robust, functional blood vessels in healing hydrogels.

In new experiments, the lab of bioengineer Jeffrey Jacot combined versatile amniotic stem cells with injectable hydrogels used as scaffolds in regenerative medicine and proved they enhance the development of vessels needed to bring blood to new tissue and carry waste products away.

The results appear in the Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part A.
Jacot and his colleagues study the use of amniotic fluid cells from pregnant women to help heal infants born with congenital heart defects. Such fluids, drawn during standard tests, are generally discarded but show promise for implants made from a baby’s own genetically matched material.

He contends amniotic stem cells are valuable for their ability to differentiate into many other types of cells, including endothelial cells that form blood vessels.

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