Developing a new heart valve that lasts longer and resembles human tissue

A Polymeric Prosthetic Heart Valve from anisotropic nanocomposites – device optimisation and in vivo testing

Geoffrey Moggridge (lead researcher)

Cambridge, University of

Start date: 01 June 2015 (Duration 4 years)

Dr Geoffrey Moggridge and his team want to develop a new heart valve that lasts longer and improves the quality of life for people who need a valve replacement.

Currently, replacement heart valves are not perfect – there is an increased risk of a blood clot forming on a mechanical valve, which can break off to cause a stroke, and those made of pig or cow heart tissue have a limited lifespan. Valves made of a material called a polymer are an attractive alternative. But while they are more durable and avoid the need for anti-clotting medicines, most polymers don’t have the same physical properties as natural heart valves.

Dr Moggridge has developed a new way to make heart valves using a self-assembling polymer material that mimics the structure of a normal healthy heart valve. With BHF funding, the team has produced a prototype valve using this material.

In this project, they are first optimising the valve’s design and performance in the lab. They will then compare this new valve to the current valve we use in a study in pigs. They will carry out mechanical, durability and compatibility testing to find out if the new valve is better and if it is ready to test in people.

People who need valve replacements currently need lifelong anti-clotting medication or repeat valve replacements. If the new polymer valve works in people, it could greatly improve the outcome and quality of life for these people.

Project details

Grant amount £755,030
Grant type Special Project
Start Date 01 June 2015
Duration 4 years
Reference SP/15/5/31548
Status In progress

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