Vascular Tissue Engineering: Harnessing the Body's Regenerative Potential
Smith Jr., Randall
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Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death world-wide, with an estimated 17.9 million deaths in 2016. Therefore, the need for vascular tissue is at the forefront of tissue engineering endeavors. In this dissertation the ability of the body’s regenerative potential will be put to the test. Endothelial cells are a crucial component of vascular tissue and it is increasingly recognized that the immune system, in specific, the monocytes and their activated state, macrophages are just as crucial to the development of blood vessels. In this dissertation studies assessing the ability of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) to capture cells and thereby induce regeneration of vascular tissue will be assessed. Furthermore, monocytes and their active state macrophages will be critically examined as a possible method of regenerating vascular tissue in-vitro and in-situ in both small and large animal models. Additionally, an example of harnessing the body’s regenerative capacity is demonstrated in tissue that relies on angiogenesis for full regeneration. All the studies presented herein demonstrate the remarkable ability of the human body to regenerate tissue when provided with the right biological cues.