Issue Date: October 10, 2011
Stents That Heal
Not only can stents—the wire scaffolds that prop open blocked arteries—be functionalized with drugs to reduce inflammation caused by their insertion, but now they can also be modified with molecules that promote blood vessel healing. A research team led by Oliver Soehnlein and Christian Weber of Germany’s Ludwig Maximilians University, in Munich, showed that nickel-titanium alloy stents coated with an antimicrobial peptide from the cathelicidin family significantly increased the openings in clogged arteries of mice and improved the coverage of healthy cells in the vessels’ inner linings (Sci. Transl. Med., DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3002531). When physicians implant stents into arteries, a small amount of damage occurs that triggers an immune response. In most cases, anti-inflammatory drugs bound to the inserted stents prevent reblocking of the vessels with scar tissue. But for about 10% of patients, according to Weber, arteries narrow again and blood clots sometimes form. The new strategy, which takes advantage of a cathelicidin peptide’s ability to recruit endothelial repair cells to an injured area, should further reduce that percentage, Weber adds. The next step for the team, he says, will be to develop and test a similar stent platform for humans.
- Chemical & Engineering News
- ISSN 0009-2347
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