Scientists at Weill Cornell Medical College have developed a new technique for turning human embryonic and pluripotent stem cells into plentiful, functional endothelial cells, which are critical to the formation of blood vessels.
The development is a significant step toward restoring healthy blood circulation to treat a variety of diseases.
Endothelial cells form the interior "lining" of all blood vessels and are the main component of capillaries, the smallest and most abundant vessels.
The study appears in the advance online issue of Nature Biotechnology.
"This technique is the first of its kind with serious potential as a treatment for a diverse array of diseases, especially cardiovascular disease, stroke and vascular complications of diabetes," says Dr. Shahin Rafii, the study's senior author.
Dr. Rafii is the Arthur B. Belfer Professor in Genetic Medicine and co-director of the Ansary Stem Cell Institute at Weill Cornell Medical College, and an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.