NovaHep’s unique and ground-breaking technology for engineering individualized blood vessels is based on innovative stem cell technology. The individualized vessel provided by NovaHep is engineered by building up a biological, tailor-made vessel from a clean “scaffold”, utilizing the patient’s own stem cells (general information about NovaHep and its activities is found under the “About” section).
The scaffold is provided through a highly advanced so-called decellularization methodology and -process, which entails sourcing a blood vessel (e.g. a vein or an artery) from a deceased human donor. Such donor vessel represents the best possible material for the purpose of engineering a tailor-made blood vessel for transplantation into a specific patient, as the material is biological. Further, a donor vessel, by nature three-dimensional, represents a readily available and appropriate structure, which would otherwise need to be artificially replicated. The decellularization process entails removing all cells that make up the tissue of the vessel, being red blood cells and so called endothelial- and smooth muscle cells, along with the DNA of the vessel donor. This is done by applying different media and special solutions. The result following such process is an “empty”, clean scaffold, which is treated with antibiotics in order to be “washed free of bacteria” that might otherwise be captured by the vessel, as it is being used outside the human body. The sterilized scaffold now free of cells, but preserved in its original three-dimensional structure, is subsequently cold stored until the next part of the process commences.
„NovaHep’s technological advancements hold the potential to change the future by offering a wide range of potential applications in transplantations“
Following decellularization comes the recellularization phase, which implies introducing stem cells of the patient to the clean scaffold. In order to source patient stem cells, NovaHep utilizes an innovative and proprietary technique, which implies using the patient’s own whole (peripheral) blood as a source for stem cells instead of using cells from bone marrow as in traditional stem cell isolation techniques. This technique makes the procedure much less troublesome for the patient. Stem cells are immature cells that have the potential to become any kind of cell of the body (e.g. muscle cells, nerve cells etc.) and all humans have them – in small numbers though. Stem cells do however have excellent growing capacity, which makes a population in the hundreds scalable to the thousands and even millions. The scaled number of stem cells is hereafter grown on to the scaffold in the right environment by being given the right “nutrition”.
The remarkable result of the entire process is a biological, individual vessel ready for transplantation into a specific patient, the body of whom will treat the vessel as was it its own, which is an amazing accomplishment to leverage in envisioning a wide range of applications of this technological advancement.