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Lede: Biomedical engineers have, for the first time, created a working blood vessel system for testing how to treat injury or disease in the lab.
Randy Atkins: The new artificial blood vessels can bleed and heal. Wilbur Lam, a pediatrician at Emory University and a biomedical engineer at Georgia Tech, says current tests can only look at parts of the clotting process – like blood flow, or specific cells and proteins.
Wilbur Lam: This bleeding model that we’ve developed really allows us to integrate all these major components that occur in the body that comprise a blood clot.
Randy Atkins: Lam says the tiny system is in a device about the width of a human hair. It allows study of blood vessel wall damage from things like blood cells infected with malaria or damaged because of sickle cell disease, or…
Wilbur Lam: …simulating a knife-like injury at a very specific point in our device such that we can visualize the whole thing under a microscope.
Randy Atkins: …including how bleeding stops with various treatments. Lam says such models could even be made with a specific person’s blood vessel cells…allowing tests for reaction to drugs without risking patient side-effects. With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.