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University of Ottawa Heart Institute Scientists Successfully Develop Novel Biomaterial to Help Grow New Blood Vessels
Date:1/13/2009

eart. The challenge has been to set up a natural magnet or 'homing device' to attract cells long enough for them to survive and grow. With the new biomaterial, the Heart Institute approach does just that by imitating and enhancing the natural process of blood vessel formation in the body.

"The concept of using cell therapy to rebuild blood vessels in and around the heart is proving to be the next frontier in cardiac medicine. This landmark development clearly represents a major step forward in adding to our ability to cure heart failure," said Dr. Ruel, Director, Cardiac Surgery Research, UOHI.

Heart Institute research showed that when compared with scaffold made from the collagen alone, the hind thigh muscles in rats treated with the smart scaffolding had more new blood vessels and improved function after a two-week period.

This latest scientific result from the Heart Institute is part of an emerging global research effort known as regenerative medicine. Regenerative medicine is exploring revolutionary approaches to engineering the reversal of disease and damage in the human body. Scientists in a new collaboration with physicians are learning how to rebuild tissue the way the body does - one cell at a time. At the Heart Institute, regenerative therapies hold significant promise for reversing advanced heart failure.

Other UOHI scientists are exploring blood vessel formation at the molecular level. Researchers at the Heart Institute's Ruddy Canadian Cardiovascular Genetics Centre have discovered a genetic factor that plays a key role in how this process works within the body. Their goal is to identify genes that contribute to the formation of blood vessels.

Techniques to rebuild blood vessels are also part of a large, diverse UOHI program in cellular and molecular research. The research project in cardiac surgery was supported in part by the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

About UOHI

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SOURCE Ottawa Heart Institute, University of Ottawa
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