Stem cell and genetic therapies are already helping to fight a number of diseases, but using them to treat conditions in areas where there’s constant blood flow is difficult. Things get washed down the stream before they get a chance to establish and deliver therapy.
Researchers at University College Cork in Ireland have developed a new intravascular stent designed to deliver genetically engineered smooth muscle cells to vascular occlusions. The cells generate high levels of the VEGF molecule that helps promote growth of new blood vessels. In an experiment on pigs with chronic total occlusions, the technique increased the blood flow around the occlusion, effectively resulting in a bypass that could previously be achieved only through surgery.
The hope is that this technology will soon find its way into practice, allowing patients that would otherwise not be good candidates for a coronary artery bypass grafting to receive a comparable treatment in a safe manner.
University College Cork: UCC device to help coronary disease…