• "This novel dynamic bioreactor allows us to follow on the spot the interaction between circulating cells and scaffolds under conditions that mimic the human situation. Through this collaboration we are now able to systematically investigate and optimize our scaffolds."

    prof. dr. C.V.C. (Carlijn) Bouten
    Full Professor

The quest

The culturing of living cardiovascular substitutes, such as small-diameter vessels and heart valves, is a high effort activity. There is evidence that cells, which circulate in the blood flow, could be captured in a scaffold valve, such that a new valve is tissue-engineered on site. These cells would need to inhabit the scaffold and grow into a layered 3D tissue architecture and fulfill the functionality of a new heart valve. To study the cellular mechanisms, a model system is required that mimics the integrated in-vivo physiological environment. Within the NIRM consortium, substantial expertise on cell and tissue culturing was available, and LifeTec Group was invited to realize this physiological environment in which the required studies could be conducted.

What was done

LifeTec Group created a dynamic bioreactor system in which the scaffold based valves could be cultured under physiologically relevant hemodynamic and structural loading conditions.

In existing bioreactor systems, cell-seeded valves are cultured in an open or closed configuration subjected either to physiological pressure (closed valve) or shear rate (open valve). The challenge in this project was to integrate these two loading conditions, inducing a realistic motion of the valves’ leaflets and a realistic impact loading at valve closure – while operating inside an incubator and allowing monitoring the valve during its growth. LifeTec Group’s research was successful, and the resulting bioreactor was validated to be capable of providing the right environment for and loading of the valves, while cells that are suspended in the circulation fluid could stay viable for a similar duration as in other culture environments. 

This result enables the research groups working on tissue engineering of heart valves to investigate the transition of cells and a scaffold into a living heart valve replacement.

  • LifeTec Group | NIRM
    LifeTec Group | NIRM
    LifeTec Group | NIRM
  • LifeTec Group | NIRM
    LifeTec Group | NIRM
    LifeTec Group | NIRM
  • LifeTec Group | NIRM
    LifeTec Group | NIRM
    LifeTec Group | NIRM

if you require any further information please do not hesitate to contact Marco Stijnen:

Head of MedTech Innovation
Marco Stijnen
Call at +31 (0)40 298 93 93 or e-mail us

©2018 LifeTec Group.  Legal  Credits