A study presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2013 shows that a hybrid heart valve created from thin and highly elastic mesh embedded within layers of human cells was strong and durable.
Researchers created a three-dimensional cell culture by coating a scaffold of nickel-titanium alloy (Nitinol), used for devices that require flexibility and motion, with layers of smooth muscle, connective tissue and lining cells. The valves performed well in a heart simulator, opening and closing under various pressures and remaining stable and strong throughout the tests.A durable, regenerating hybrid heart valve would be an important advance because previous attempts to create tissue-engineered heart valves from patients' cells have been unsatisfactory. All the prior methods entail significant limitations due to structural vulnerability, short-term functionality and mechanical properties of the tissue-engineered valves.
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