Recently we have developed a methodology for isolation and purification of adult vascular progenitor cells, from several species including humans, that are clonogenic, self renewing and multipotent. These vascular progenitor cells are, to our knowledge, one of the few adult vascular stem cells ever described in humans, other than the multipotent adult progenitor cells (MAPCs), that have multilineage vascular differentiation capacity and unlimited growth potential ex vivo (growing to excess of 120 population doublings). These cells can expanded in culture to form engineered micro and macro-vascular structures or can be implanted in vivo to reconstitute multiple cellular components within injured and repairing arteries.
These findings provide fundamental new insights into the biology of the adult vasculature. Multifaceted opportunities exist to exploit the biology of these cells in terms of novel diagnostics, medical and surgical therapeutics and development of a range of new technologies ranging from tissue engineered vascular conduits and microvascular networks to novel endovascular cell seeded devices. Exploitation of this biology may allow new and innovative approaches to vascular regeneration, post -myocardial infarct repair and revascularization of the peripheral circulation.