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Skin Cells Can Be Engineered Into Pulmonary Valves for Pediatric Patients
Date:9/24/2014

CHICAGO, September 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --


New valves may grow with patients and may have lower rejection rates 

Researchers 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 proof of concept study published in the September 2014 issue of The Annals of Thoracic Surgery provides more detail on this scientific development.

Key points 

  • Cells from a skin biopsy can be used in a tissue-engineered pulmonary valve.

  • This study is the first step toward demonstrating the feasibility of creating a patient-specific pulmonary valve that contains live cells from the patient.

  • A patient-specific pulmonary valve can grow with the patient, reducing the need for future replacements and, thus, improving the patient's quality of life.

"Current valve replacements cannot grow with 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. Our study is particularly important for pediatric patients who often require repeated operations for pulmonary valve replacements," said lead author David L. Simpson, PhD, from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.

Dr. Simpson, senior co-author Sunjay Kaushal, MD, PhD, and colleagues designed a process to transform skin cells from a simple biopsy into cells that become an important ingredient in a tissue-engineered pulmonary valve.

The pulmonary valve is a crescent-shaped valve that lies between the heart's right ventricle and pulmonary artery. It is responsible for moving blood from the heart into the lungs.

While the study was conducted in vitro (outside of the body), the next step will be implanting the new valves into patients to test their durability and longevity.

"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. Kaushal. "In the future, it may be possible to generate this pulmonary valve by using a blood sample instead of a skin biopsy."

Dr. Simpson added that he hopes the study will encourage additional research in tissue engineering and entice more people to enter the field, "Hopefully, growing interest and research in this field will translate more quickly into clinical application."

It is estimated that nearly 800 patients per year could potentially benefit from bioengineered patient-specific pulmonary valves, according to data from the STS Congenital Heart Surgery Database. The Database, which collects information from more than 95% of hospitals in the US and Canada that perform pediatric and congenital heart surgery, shows that approximately 3,200 patients underwent pulmonary valve replacement during a 4-year period from January 2010 to December 2013.

The Simpson study was a collaboration between the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore and the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. Additional co-authors include Brody Wehman, MD, Yekaterina Galat, Sudhish Sharma, PhD, Rachana Mishra, PhD, and Vasiliy Galat, PhD (senior co-author).

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Notes for editors 

This article is "Engineering Patient-Specific Valves Using Stem Cells Generated From Skin Biopsy Specimens" by David L. Simpson,Brody Wehman,Yekaterina Galat,Sudhish Sharma,Rachana Mishra,Vasiliy Galat,Sunjay Kaushal (DOI: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2014.04.075) published by Elsevier.

Full text of the article is available to credentialed journalists upon request; contact Cassie McNulty cmcnulty@sts.org at +1-312-202-5865 or newsroom@elsevier.com  

About The Annals of Thoracic Surgery 

The Annals of Thoracic Surgery is the official journal of STS and the Southern Thoracic Surgical Association. Founded in 1964, The Society of Thoracic Surgeons is a not-for-profit organization representing more than 6,800 cardiothoracic surgeons, researchers, and allied health care professionals worldwide who are dedicated to ensuring the best possible outcomes for surgeries of the heart, lung, and esophagus, as well as other surgical procedures within the chest. The Society's mission is to enhance the ability of cardiothoracic surgeons to provide the highest quality patient care through education, research, and advocacy.

About Elsevier 

Elsevier is a world-leading provider of information solutions that enhance the performance of science, health, and technology professionals, empowering them to make better decisions, deliver better care, and sometimes make groundbreaking discoveries that advance the boundaries of knowledge and human progress. Elsevier provides web-based, digital solutions - among them ScienceDirect, Scopus, Elsevier Research Intelligence and ClinicalKey - and publishes nearly 2,200 journals, including The Lancet and Cell, and over 25,000 book titles, including a number of iconic reference works.

The company is part of Reed Elsevier Group PLC, a world-leading provider of professional information solutions in the Science, Medical, Legal and Risk and Business sectors, which is jointly owned by Reed Elsevier PLC and Reed Elsevier NV. The ticker symbols are REN (Euronext Amsterdam), REL (London Stock Exchange), RUK and ENL (New York Stock Exchange).

Media contact
Cassie McNulty
Media Relations Manager STS
+1-312-202-5865
mcnulty@sts.org



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