Research program of Soft Tissue Engineering and Mechanobiology

1Valve- One Valve for Life

This project aims for the establishment of an innovative, living durable heart valve, that in contrast to the available prostheses, bears the ability to grow and adapt throughout the patient’s life.

In situ tissue engineering is a promising new technology that enables the patient’s body to grow a new, living heart valve. This technique is based on (minimally invasive) implantation of a heart valve shaped, biodegradable scaffold into the patient. This scaffold attracts the body’s own cells from the patient’s blood stream and surrounding tissue, which gradually transform the scaffold into a living heart valve, that lasts a lifetime: one valve for life.


Heart valve disease represents a major global burden. Every year almost 300.000 heart valve replacements are carried out worldwide. Today’s method of choice for the treatment of heart valve disease is surgical heart valve replacement. Nevertheless none of the currently available mechanical and biological heart valve substitutes resemble normal heart valve function. Moreover, patients with mechanical valves require lifelong anticoagulation treatment in order to prevent thrombosis and embolism. In particular young patients with biological valves face a high chance of needing reoperation due to the limited durability of biological substitutes.


The 1Valve program receives support from the Netherlands Cardio Vascular Research Initiative: the Netherlands Heart Foundation, Dutch Federation of University Medical Centers, the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (CVON2012-01 1Valve)