There are various artificial heart valves available for children, but they have one essential drawback: they need to be replaced because the children are still growing. The artificial valve, on the other hand, remains the same size – and subsequently becomes too small. This is why an artificial heart valve that grows over time would be ideal because it would prevent the children from needing repeated surgeries.
MEDICA.de spoke with chemist Dr. Svenja Hinderer at the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology (IGB), who currently works on developing an artificial heart valve designed to grow with the body.
Svenja Hinderer: We studied the design of the extracellular matrix of natural heart valves to subsequently replicate its function. To do this, we use a variety of polymers such as polyethylene glycol and polylactic acid that- among other things- can be cross-linked with ultraviolet light. The materials are electrospun and can be populated with additional natural proteins. The latter can trigger different cellular responses. These varying layers make this process so interesting because we want to attract cells responsible for growth in the human body. The material has already been successfully tested for its function as a heart valve in a bioreactor where body temperature and blood pressure are simulated. The valve opens and closes under physiological pressures of 120 mmHg to 80 mmHg. ...
Read the whole interview at MEDICA-tradefair.com!