Researcher develops biodegradable stent for hearts patients

November 25th, 2009 - 5:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Nov 25 (IANS) Stents that keep weakened arteries from collapsing have been true life-savers, but are no longer needed once the arteries are strengthened. Now, a researcher has developed a biodegradable stent for heart patients which will carry drugs where they’re needed and will then dissolve.
Meital Zilberman, professor in biomedical engineering of Tel Aviv University (TAU), has developed a new patent-pending fibre platform that carries drugs where they’re needed, then dissolves.

“Our new composite fibres consist of a strong core coated with a drug-releasing, or ‘eluting,’ solution. They combine strength with the desired elements necessary for drug delivery, so they can be used as the basis of biodegradable drug-eluting stents,” says Zilberman.

Her unique coating technology, she adds, can be used to coat both metal stents, which are currently available, and the biodegradable stents now in development.

“The main problem with drugs used on stents is that coating manufacturers have been unable to develop a method for releasing them in a controlled manner,” explains Zilberman.

Insoluble in water, these drugs do not release well from a coating, she explains. A coating made from an extremely porous structure like hers, however, provides a large surface area for diffusion. This gives heart specialists “a desired release profile”.

Pre-programmed to release the drugs in a controlled manner, Zilberman’s patent-pending fibres can also be designed to dissolve within a precise number of months, so the stent can do its work, then disappear.

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