Researchers have created a biodegradable gel that will help heal arteries. While the technology has been tested in cardiovascular patients, it also has application and is in clinical trials in patients undergoing kidney dialysis.
The product, a gel that biodegrades after 30 to 60 days, can treat acute vascular injury in a number of clinical settings, including vascular failure and peripheral bypass failure. It is designed to be wrapped around the artery at the site of the procedure and to release biochemical factors to promote the healing of the vessel’s inner lining, or endothelium.
“The blood-vessel wall is a complicated structure,” says Elazer Edelman, director of the Harvard-MIT Biomedical Engineering Center and cofounder of Pervasis Therapeutics. When the endothelium is damaged, it leads to a condition called intimal hyperplasia—an abnormal growth of smooth muscle cells. The vessel walls then scar and thicken, leading to restenosis.
Pervasis Therapeutics, a Cambridge, MA, biotech start up company, is developing cell-based therapies that induce repair and regeneration in a wide array of tissues. The company’s lead products are based on proprietary endothelial cell technology, shown to reverse vascular dysfunction and disruption broadly.
Illustration: A gel containing endothelial cells is wrapped around a blood vessel to prevent damage. The cells release biochemical factors that prevent scarring and the narrowing of the vessel from procedures like balloon angioplasty. -- Pervasis Therapeutics.
MIT Technology Review (06/26/07)