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Researchers engineer next generation trans-catheter heart valves

Patients suffering from heart valve disease can look forward to a more durable trans-catheter heart valve without the use of blood thinners, thanks to a team of researchers from The Ohio State University.

Led by Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering Lakshmi Prasad Dasi, the project has received a $150,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Center for Accelerated Innovations at Cleveland Clinic. The research team includes College of Medicine Professors Christopher Breuer, John Cheatham, Kan Hor and Juan Crestanello, and biomedical engineering graduate student Atieh Yousefi, who is a co-inventor of the technology.

Biomedical Engineering Associate Professor Lakshmi Prasad Dasi works with graduate student Atieh Yousefi in his lab.

The team will focus on novel artificial heart valve replacement therapy. Dasi and his colleagues assert that while trans-catheter heart valves bring valve replacement therapy to a larger patient population, the fact that they utilize fixed tissue as leaflets presents some important disadvantages.

“Current trans-catheter heart valve technology is plagued with the same drawbacks of surgical tissue valves, namely lack of durability and likelihood of causing blood clots,” said Dasi, an expert in heart valve engineering and cardiovascular biomechanics.

The artificial heart valve Dasi and his colleagues are developing uses a polymeric biomaterial cloaked with bio-molecules in a biomechanically designed configuration. Valve materials are enhanced with hyaluronan, a molecule found in any soft tissue. Using animal trials, the team will assess the feasibility of this technology to move forward toward commercialization.

Dasi with graduate students in his lab.

If successful, the new technology could improve the lives of the more than 290,000 patients worldwide who undergo heart valve procedures each year.

“The potential impact of this research is that trans-catheter heart valves will finally become durable without the need for blood thinners,” said Dasi. “Patients suffering from heart valve disease will benefit from overall reduction in costs while improving their outcome.”

The NIH Centers for Accelerated Innovations (NCAI) and the NIH Research Evaluation and Commercialization Hubs (REACH) are designed to accelerate translation of scientific discovery into commercial products that improve health for patients. With these two programs, the NIH has created a nationwide network of six centers and hubs to develop best practices in translating academic innovations into new drugs, devices and diagnostics.