Congenital Heart Disease Treated with Stem Cell Plasters

Currently, surgeons can conduct open-heart surgery on many of these infants to temporarily correct the condition, but the materials used for patches or new heart valves are not biological and cannot develop with the baby. This means that they may be rejected by the patient’s immune system, causing the surgical materials to gradually degrade and fail over months or years.

As a result, a child may have to undergo the same heart procedure numerous times throughout childhood, which can keep them in the hospital for weeks at a time, negatively impacting their quality of life and causing a lot of stress for the family.


New Stem Cell Therapy to Treat Defect in Heart Valve

Professor Massimo Caputo of the BHF has developed the first stem cell patch to repair defects in the valve in the big blood channel that controls blood flow from the heart to the lungs, as well as to fix holes between the heart’s two main pumping chambers.

During surgery, the stem cell plasters are sewn into the portion of the child’s heart that needs to be repaired. The stem cells could then help with heart tissue regeneration without being rejected by the child’s body.

The BHF has funded Professor Caputo over £750,000 to get these patches ready for testing in patients so that clinical trials may begin within the next two years, allowing more infants and babies to benefit from life-changing technology. The materials have already been shown to be safe in animal tests.

The team is also in the early phases of creating other stem cell technologies that will one day be able to repair more severe congenital heart problems utilizing 3D bioprinting and gene therapy.

Dr. Sonya Babu-Narayan, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, said, “If successful, this new stem cell therapy that acts like a healing plaster could revolutionise the results of heart surgery for children and adults living with congenital heart disease. It could offer a solution that means their heart is mended once and forever in a single operation, preventing people from facing a future of repeated surgeries and giving them the gift of a happier and healthier life.”

Source: Medindia

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