An international team, led by scientists in California, report that they have successfully grown blood vessels for patients on kidney dialysis. Dialysis patients need a vessel, or shunt, to connect them to dialysis machines. Because dialysis is done regularly, an artificial vessel is often used, but these are prone to infection and inflammation. The scientists took a small skin sample from ten high-risk patients and grew sheets of cells in the lab, then rolled these up to form vessels appropriate for the shunt. Five patients had grafts functioning for dialysis 6-20 months after implantation. In the future, custom-produced blood vessels might be produced for patients with circulatory problems in their hearts or legs. Todd McAllister of Cytograft Tissue Engineering, which paid for the study, said "It's basically a piece of plumbing to bypass blockages."

Preliminary results on four patients were reported in 2007 in the New England Journal of Medicine. This current study following the original patients and other patients is published in The Lancet