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Children's Hospital of Boston, Tepha report successfully transplanting lab-grown heart valves.

Researchers at Children's Hospital, Boston, and Tepha, Inc., Cambridge, MA, reported they have successfully grown heart valves from cells using a new bioabsorbable scaffold. The researchers say the results hold promise as an alternative treatment to the use of mechanical and animal heart valves that are currently used in more than 220,000 heart valve replacement surgeries each year.

Children's and Tepha say previous attempts to engineer new tissue heart valves have been hindered by the lack of suitable bioabsorbable materials that can endure the repetitive bi-directional flexing of the heart valve leaflets. Tepha reports it has produced a flexible bioabsorbably material, known as PHA4400, to address these requirements and enable fabrication of the heart valve scaffold.

The new approach to heart valve replacement could potentially have a number of significant advantages over the options currently available, the researchers say. Patients receiving mechanical valve replacements, for example, must currently be placed on anticoagulant drugs and monitored for the rest of their lives to prevent blood clotting, and those receiving animal valves face the prospect of repeat surgeries as the performance of the valves begins to deteriorate. The new tissue engineered valves, however, are expected to be free from these problems by being both durable and functional without the need for medication to prevent blood clots. The researchers also hope the new technology will provide young children requiring heart valve replacement with a valve that can grow, removing the need for multiple surgeries to replace artificial implant vales as the child grows.

Contact: Public Affairs Office, Children's Hospital - (617) 355-6420, or Simon Williams, Tepha - (617) 492-0505
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Comment:Children's Hospital of Boston, Tepha report successfully transplanting lab-grown heart valves.
Publication:Transplant News
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 10, 1999
Previous Article:Lancet editors say time has come for human trials of xenotransplantation.
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