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Bioengineering

Researchers Make New Heart Valves from Patients Own Cells

16 years ago

2075  0
Posted on Dec 07, 2003, 9 a.m. By Bill Freeman

German researchers have managed to make replacement heart valves from a patient's own cells. Diseased heart valves are normally replaced with mechanical valves, or valves obtained from human cadavers, pigs, or cattle. These types of valves typically work well in patients aged 60 and over, however they are not really appropriate for younger people as they wear out too quickly.

German researchers have managed to make replacement heart valves from a patient's own cells. Diseased heart valves are normally replaced with mechanical valves, or valves obtained from human cadavers, pigs, or cattle. These types of valves typically work well in patients aged 60 and over, however they are not really appropriate for younger people as they wear out too quickly. To eliminate this and other problems Dr Pascal Dohmen of Charite Hospital in Berlin, and colleagues began to make replacement valves using a patient's own endothelial cells, a type of cell that lines blood vessels. The researchers began using valves from human cadavers and pigs. These valves were stripped until only a scaffold of collagen and elastin remained, and the patient's endothelial cells were then grown on the scaffold. The valves have been implanted into 23 patients with an average age of 44, and these patients were studied for up to three years since being given the valve. According to Dohmen, "The patients are in very good shape," and tests have shown that the valves are functioning correctly and are showing no signs of calcium build-up, which can destroy other types of replacement valves.

SOURCE/REFERENCE: Reported by www.reutershealth.com on the 13th November 2003.

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