Foreign materials often used in cardiovascular surgery may cause unwanted side effects and reduced growth potential. To resolve these problems, we have designed a tissue-engineering technique that utilizes bone marrow cells (BMCs) in clinical treatments. To obtain tissue-engineered material, we harvested saphenous vein samples from patients, which were then minced, cultured and seeded onto a biodegradable scaffold. The first operation was performed in May 1999 as previously described (N. Engl. J. Med. 344 (7) (2001) 532) and this method was repeated on two other patients. From November 2001, we used aspirated BMCs as the cell source, which were seeded onto the scaffold on the day of surgery. This method was applied in 22 patients. There was no morbidity such as thrombogenic complications, stenosis or obstruction of tissue-engineered autografts, and no mortality due to these techniques. These results indicate that BMCs seeded onto a biodegradable scaffold to establish tissue-engineered vascular autografts (TEVAs) is an ideal strategy, and present strong evidence for the justification and validity of our protocol in clinical trials of tissue engineering.