The biological scaffolds of heart valves with cellular materials removed can be freeze-dried and stored for transplanting later as tissue-engineered replacement valves, Leibniz University and Hannover Medical School researchers claimed.
ScienceDaily reported new strategies for freeze-drying decellularized pig heart valves for later transplanting into humans were innovated and tested recently by collabortors at Hannover Medical School, Hannover and Leibniz University, Corlife, Germany, and their new research was documented in the journal Tissue Engineering Part C: Methods.
Shangping Wang of Leibniz University and his colleagues tested and compared for elasticity and stability porcine heart valve scaffolds they had freeze-dried after removing cellular material, with and without using hydroxyl ethylene starch and sucrose lyoprotectants, and they reported their assessment of the effectiveness of each method in preventing or reducing degradation.
Methods Co-Editor-in-Chief John Jansen, chairman of the Department of Biomaterials at Radboud University's Nijmegen Medical Center in The Netherlands explained the importance of the team's ongoing research:
“Advances in heart valve technology are essential for improvement of patient care. The authors have discerned critical methods for heart valve scaffold preservation that may fundamentally change the way that heart valve reconstruction is performed."
Scientists have long been researching and experimenting with methods of transplanting pig organs and organ parts into humans to alleviate the lagging supply of human body parts and long transplant waiting lists, Time Magazine reported several years ago.
But a study at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found pig heart valves transplanted into humans to repair aortic valves failed more often and much earlier than doctors expected, ScienceDaily reported in June 2009.