Pediatric heart surgeon publishes study on valves using patients own cells

For immediate release: September 02, 2014

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Researchers at the University of Maryland Children’s Heart Program have found a way to take a pediatric patient’s skin cells, reprogram the skin cells to function as heart valvular cells, and then use the cells as part of a tissue-engineered pulmonary valve. A paper published in the September 2014 issue of The Annals of Thoracic Surgery provides more detail on this scientific development.

“We created a pulmonary valve that is unique to the individual patient and contains living cells from that patient. That valve is less likely to be destroyed by the patient’s immune system, thus improving the outcome and hopefully increasing the quality of life for our patient,” said Dr. Sunjay Kaushal, senior author and pediatric heart surgeon at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Current valve replacements cannot grow with pediatric patients as they age, but the use of a patient-specific pulmonary valve would introduce a ‘living’ valvular construct that should grow with the patient. The study is particularly important for pediatric patients who often require repeated operations for pulmonary valve replacements.

Read the full news release.

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