Thursday, 17 April 2014
masthead+quote+image
Advanced search

Cardiovascular stent could improve surgical outcomes

A new type of cardiovascular stent, coated in antibodies to improve biocompatibility and effectiveness, is now under development in Ireland and Poland.

Scientists at National University of Ireland Galway are to lead a €1.2m (£964,585) EU project to reduce the re-narrowing of arteries and the need for further interventions through the development of novel cardiovascular stent materials.

National University of Ireland Galway’s Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB), a Science Foundation Ireland-funded strategic research cluster, and the university’s microbiology department will head the four-year project.

‘About half of all deaths from cardiovascular diseases are due to coronary artery disease, which occurs when the coronary arteries become hardened and narrowed due to the build-up of plaques on their inner walls or lining,’ said National University of Ireland Galway microbiologist Dr Gerard Wall, who is leading the project.

‘Our plan is to create a new type of coating on the stents using human antibody fragments,’ said Wall in a statement. ‘Once the stent is in place, we hope these antibodies will attract a layer of the patient’s own epithelial cells. This should effectively camouflage the stent as far as the body is concerned, and it will no longer be such a foreign object. Our theory is that this will reduce the potential for rejection and the level of clot build-up and also significantly improve the long-term outcome of surgical interventions.’

Coronary heart diseases, including myocardial infarction, are commonly triggered by the build-up of plaques in the inner walls of coronary arteries, leading to stenosis and reduced blood flow to the heart. This is said to be the most common cause of death in Europe, accounting for approximately two million deaths each year.

This condition can be treated by angioplasty to re-open blockages and the insertion of a stent to keep arteries open. However, not all stents continue to perform perfectly over time. Cells such as macrophages and smooth muscle cells can grow over the stent surface and cause clot formation, once again clogging the arteries. While anti-clotting drugs can be used, the risk of rejection of the foreign stent material remains a problem.

The project brings together three academic partners: National University of Ireland Galway and Poland’s Wrocław University of Technology and Wrocław Medical University. These are joined by Vornia, a Galway-based start-up biomedical company, and multinational stent manufacturer Balton, which has its headquarters in Poland.

Readers' comments (1)

  • This is an interesting proposal. The concept of surface modification of stents with antibodies has been implemented in the Genous stent.
    I am keen to learn more about the novelty of this new project and what may be its superiority.
    All succes with the project.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

Mandatory
Mandatory
Mandatory
Mandatory

My saved stories (Empty)

You have no saved stories

Save this article

Digital Edition

The Engineer March Digital Issue

Poll

The roundtable feature in our current issue looks at issues surrounding graduate recruitment into engineering. Which of the solutions proposed in the feature would make the biggest contribution to boosting the number of graduates finding jobs in engineering and remaining there?

Previous Poll

Europe's largest tidal array in the Pentand Firth off Orkney will eventually generate up to 86MW of power. What will it take for tidal energy to make an appreciable contribution to the UK's energy needs?

Read and comment on the results here