Novel Technique Could Make Heart Tissue Regeneration Quicker, Less Expensive

A combination of proteins and growth factors could transform a simple cell into a complex cell.

Researchers recently created a novel technique that could make heart tissue regeneration less expensive and safer.

In a study published by Biotechnology and Bioengineering, researchers discovered new ways proteins and growth factors work together to make surface cells turn into cells that compose the middle layer of the heart valve.

“Science has long been working towards ways to minimize or eliminate the rejection risks faced by tissue transplant patient,” said researcher Keekyoung Kim, PhD, professor at University of British Ccolumbia's Okanagan campus. “While the goal of using a patient's own genetic material to grow a body tissue is still a long way off, this study has moved us further towards that goal.”

This novel process allows researchers to use less materials to achieve the same result. This means that the heart-valve regeneration process could potentially be quicker and less expensive.

Researchers used a microarray to place proteins, growth-influencing molecules, and simple cells in various combinations on top of hydrogel, according to the study. The researchers then were able to determine which combinations influenced a simple cell to become a more complex cell that can be used for heart-valve growth.

"We're confident this process can be used for other types of tissue, so we are currently in the process of building a microarray in the Okanagan so we can continue testing," Dr Kim concluded.