According to a recent Medgadget article, a team at Harvard University has developed a technique called "Focused Rotary Jet Spinning" to create biomaterial heart valves in just minutes. The method involves directing polymer strands onto a heart valve-shaped frame using jets of air. The result is a porous scaffold that supports the growth of cardiac cells. The scaffolds contain nanoscale cues that attract cells, aiming for the biomaterial scaffold to be gradually replaced by cells, leading to a regenerated heart valve. The rapid and precise approach offers advantages in terms of speed and spatial fidelity compared to traditional methods of creating biomaterial scaffolds.
Preliminary studies where the valves were implanted in sheep had promising results, with the valves effectively controlling blood flow, allowing cell infiltration, and avoiding tears or thrombus formation. The technique's ability to mimic the nanoscale environment of heart valves is an encouraging step toward regenerative medicine and the development of complex tissues.