Improved materials may allow stents, tiny metal scaffolds inserted into blood vessels, to better deliver beneficial genes to patients with heart disease, by reducing the risk of inflammation that often negates initial benefits. The new technique, using a compound that binds in an extremely thin layer to bare metal surfaces, may have potential uses in other areas of medicine that make use of metallic implants.
Cardiologists frequently treat heart disease patients now by using stents to expand partially blocked blood vessels and improve blood flow. However, new obstructions may gradually form within the stents themselves and dangerously narrow the passageway. A newer generation of stents releases drugs to counteract this renarrowing process, called restenosis, but the polymer coatings that initially hold the drugs to the stents may stimulate inflammation. The inflammation in turn leads to restenosis.
Researchers at The Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia have developed a novel technique to attach therapeutic genes to a stents bare metal surface. This technique allows the genes to help heal the surrounding blood vessels, while avoiding the inflammation caused by polymer coatings.
John Ascenzi | EurekAlert!
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