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Engineering next generation aortic valve replacement materials

Collaborating organisations listed below.

  • Cardiovascular Collaborative Grants
Date Funded:
  • 25 May, 2023
Chief Investigator/s:
  • Associate Professor Jelena Rnjak-Kovacina
  • Associate Professor Steven Wise
  • Associate Professor Martin Ng
  • Dr. Anna Waterhouse
  • Dr. Khoon Lim
  • Associate Professor Berndt Gludovatz
  • Dr. Nona Farbehi

Project Summary

This project aims to develop a new generation of heart valve materials for the treatment of aortic heart valve disease.

What is the issue for NSW?

Aortic stenosis is the most common heart valve disease, it affects 2-7% of people aged over sixty-five.  If untreated, severe symptomatic aortic stenosis has a three-year survival rate of less than 30%.

NSW has the highest number of severe aortic stenosis cases in Australia. The incidence of severe aortic stenosis is expected to drastically increase with our ageing population (Projected to be 200,000 people in Australian in 2031).

Replacement of stenotic valves with new leaflets via a transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) is becoming the treatment of choice for aortic valve replacement and has enabled earlier intervention with greater benefits to quality of life and has a lower healthcare burden. However, current TAVI devices have short lifetimes due to mechanical failure & degradation, especially in younger patients.

What does the research aim to do and how?

This research aims to develop a new generation of heart valve leaflets for transcatheter aortic valve replacement for patients suffering from aortic heart valve disease. Current valve devices are well-tolerated but have short lifetimes due to mechanical failure and degradation.

We aim to develop a new generation of materials using silk fibroin, a natural material that can be processed to mimic the structural complexity of native valves and be replaced over time with human tissue, making it a long-lasting solution.

This research will:

  • Develop materials that outperform animal tissue heart valves transplanted into humans.

Collaborating Organisations:

University of New South Wales

University of Sydney

Sydney Local Health District

Endoluminal Sciences Pty Ltd.

Tyree Institute for Health Engineering