The "50 active years after 50" plan aims to transplant own-grown tissues for pensioners and senior citizens. Initially hips, knees and heart valves will be the "spare parts" to be implanted, but researchers from the university's Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering are looking at other organs as well.
Professor Eileen Ingham and her team have successfully used a technique to transplant heart valves in animals. They have used functional healthy donor heart valve from a human or a suitable animal, such as a pig and have used enzymes or detergents to remove cells from the value.
The remaining scaffold is then transplanted to animals after which the body re-populated it with new cells, thus creating a functional valve.