Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have developed a transparent artificial blood vessel which they hope will be helpful in studying the mechanism through which cancers spread and propagate to different regions of the body.
The vessel's developer Andrew Wong describes it as a cylindrical device that is lined with human endothelial cells. It is then coated with a collagen gel, in order to support living tissues, and a small clump of metastatic breast cancer cells is introduced just outside the collagen matrix.
The cancer cells are tagged with fluorescent markers that allow the researchers to track their progress through a nutrient rich fluid that is pumped inside the vessel in order to simulate blood flow. The details of the study have been published in the journal Cancer Research