Standards for the in vitro fabrication of heart valves using human umbilical cord cells
The most common therapy for end-stage valvular heart disease is valve replacement. Currently, 300 000 procedures are performed annually world-wide. Furthermore, 8 of 1000 children are born with congenital cardiac defects. Every fifth of these needs a heart valve replacement. Clinically available heart valve substitutes, including biological prostheses such as xenografts and homografts, and mechanical prostheses have satisfactory hemodynamic properties and function well but have several limitations in common, for example, an increased risk of infection and, particularly in pediatric patients, an increased potential for degeneration and calcification [1, 2, 3]. Furthermore, these substitutes consist of foreign, nonviable materials which entail the risk of thromboembolism and the lack of ability to remodel, repair, and grow. Pediatric patients are of particular interest in this context because they “outgrow” the prostheses so that multiple reoperations and considerable suffering for the patients and their families are the consequence . Tissue engineering could be an alternative in overcoming these disadvantages. The interdisciplinary approach of tissue engineering combines principles of engineering and material science with biology and vascular surgery to fabricate viable and functional prostheses from autologous, living cells with the aim of long-lasting replacement or reconstruction of the dysfunctional native tissue.
KeywordsTissue Engineering Heart Valve Heart Valve Prosthesis Heart Valve Tissue Human Marrow Stromal Cell
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