World first research: Stent coating that fools the body into better acceptance

Research Updates

Our scientists pioneering world first stent coating

There’s no doubt that cardiac implants or stents save lives. Coronary heart disease - a narrowing or blockage of the blood vessels of the heart - kills thousands of New Zealanders each year.

The small scaffold stent props open the diseased artery to prevent heart attacks. But because the body treats stents as foreign, the risk of blood clots is ever present. 

Narrowing or blocking of the stented blood can occur in as many as half of all patients. This can cause a relapse of chest pain and other symptoms, and in extreme cases can be fatal. ‘Drug eluting’ stents were made to address this, secreting drugs to lower the risk of re-narrowing, but the trade-off is a higher risk of heart attack due to blood clots forming in the stent.

In a joint project, researchers from the Immunobiology Group and the Translational Reserch and Bioengineering Group, are developing the world’s first stent coating technology that uses a biomimicry approach, fooling the body so that it integrates with the foreign stent. This will hopefully mean in the future doctors will be able to implant stents that are more compatible with the body, leading to better outcomes for cardiac patients, and less subsequent risk of complications and death.

“The problem with the current steel stents is that they are not biocompatible: they are prone to blood clotting and cells don’t like growing on them. That translates to going back to hospital in three to five years. Some people think that’s a reasonable trade-off, to go and get your stent fixed up every few years. Our argument is that we can do better,” says Dr Christina Bursill, Immunobiology Group Leader at the Heart Research Institute.
“This remarkable coating technology achieves a 10-fold reduction in clotting and enhances blood vessel healing after the stent is placed, thereby improving the outcomes of patients undergoing stenting procedures. This result has profound implications for the development of next generation stents with much better clinical outcomes for patients.”

Previous
Next

Related news

Meet the team: Richard Tan

“A career in research really gives you a sense of purpose and drive. While it can be a long and difficult path, every day you can feel satisfied that the work you do is for the greater good. And that in itself is one of the most rewarding experiences,” says Richard Tan, PhD candidate with the Applied Materials Group at HRI.

Read more

Blood clot breakthrough a saviour for diabetics

A breakthrough by HRI scientists could soon protect tens of thousands of Australians with diabetes from killer heart disease and stroke.

Read more

Heart patch helps stem cells work magic

The Heart Research Institute is behind the invention of an innovative bio-material patch that can be loaded with a patient’s stem cells to help breathe life into dead tissue following a stroke or heart attack, dramatically improving a patient’s chance of full recovery.

Read more