Lab-created heart valves can grow with the recipient

A groundbreaking new study led by University of Minnesota Twin Cities researchers from both the College of Science and Engineering and the Medical School shows for the first time that lab-created heart valves implanted in young lambs for a year were capable of growth within the recipient. The valves also showed reduced calcification and improved blood flow function compared to animal-derived valves currently used when tested in the same growing lamb model. If confirmed in humans, these new heart valves could prevent the need for repeated valve replacement surgeries in thousands of children born each year with congenital heart defects. The valves can also be stored for at least six months, which means they could provide surgeons with an “off the shelf” option for treatment. The study was published today in Science Translational Medicine, an interdisciplinary medical journal by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The valve-making procedure has also been…