Using tissue engineering to treat congenital heart disease

Neonatal cardiac pericytes engineered grafts for correction of congenital heart defects

Paolo Madeddu (lead researcher)

Bristol, University of

Start date: 01 August 2015 (Duration 3 years)

Professor Paolo Madeddu is working out ways to use stem cell-based tissue engineering to help babies born with congenital heart disease. In this project, he will develop a new a new prosthetic graft called a ‘pericyte-engineered’ graft that heart surgeons can use to correct congenital heart defects. Current grafts used to repair congenital cardiac defects cannot match the growth of the child’s heart, requiring repeated operations to replace failed grafts. The new graft will be seeded with cells called cardiac pericytes, which will be obtained from the patient’s own heart tissue at surgery. These cells are quite remarkable - they produce proteins called extracellular matrix proteins and recruit the patient’s own blood vessel lining cells and heart stem cells. These recruited cells can then become the living tissue that replaces the graft and grow with the child, avoiding repeated operations. In this project, Professor Madeddu will optimise the quality and quantity of the neonatal cardiac pericytes that are needed, and is perfecting the method used to produce these grafts in paediatric heart surgery. The researchers hope this new graft will ultimately make a real difference to babies with congenital heart disease and will avoid or reduce the need for repeat operations. The research may also help with the development of cell-engineered grafts for a wider range of conditions where a damaged heart needs to be repaired.

Project details

Grant amount £179,569
Grant type Project Grant
Start Date 01 August 2015
Duration 3 years
Reference PG/15/32/31398
Status Complete

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