Researchers at Mayo Clinic, Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are developing a biomaterial that has potential to protect patients at high risk for bleeding in surgery.
The Nov. 16 cover article, “An Injectable Shear-Thinning Biomaterial for Endovascular Embolization,” in the journal Science Translational Medicine reports on a universal shear-thinning biomaterial that may provide an alternative for treating vascular bleeding.
Endovascular embolization is a minimally invasive procedure that treats abnormal blood vessels in the brain and other parts of the body beginning with a pinhole puncture in the femoral artery. This procedure is accomplished by inserting metallic coils through a catheter into a vessel, which induces clotting to prevent further bleeding.
For patients unable to form a clot within the coiled artery or patients on high doses of blood thinners for their mechanical valves or cardiac assist devices, coil embolization could lead to complications, such as breakthrough bleeding, according to the study.
Despite its improvement over open surgical procedures, rebleeding after coil embolization is common and can be life-threatening, states the study.
The study’s lead co-author Rahmi Oklu, M.D., Ph.D., a vascular interventional radiologist at Mayo Clinic’s Arizona campus, explains shear-thinning biomaterial offers many advantages over metallic coils, the current gold standard.
“Coils require your body’s ability to create a clot in order to create that occlusion. Our shear-thinning biomaterial, regardless of how anticoagulated the patient may be, will still create that occlusion,” says Dr. Oklu, who began researching the shear-thinning biomaterial three years ago while working at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, in collaboration with his colleague, Ali Khademhosseini, Ph.D., of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
Dr. Oklu says the shear-thinning biomaterial, which can be injected through an endovascular catheter, creates an impenetrable cast of the vessel, preventing further bleeding. This shear-thinning biomaterial is easier to deliver and see on a CT and on MRI, enabling physicians to better assess the outcomes of the procedure, says Dr. Oklu.
Research on the shear-thinning biomaterial continues at Mayo Clinic. The goal is to address unmet patient needs, including possible treatment of vascular malformations, varicose veins, aneurysms and traumatic vascular injuries, as well as a drug delivery device in cancer treatment.
Simon Fraser University researchers hope that a brain vital-sign test becomes as routine during a doctor’s check-up as taking a blood pressure or heart rate measurement.
SFU researchers, led by professor Ryan D’Arcy with partners from the Mayo Clinic, Sheba Medical Centre in Israel and local high-tech company HealthTech Connex Inc., are developing a more accessible means to monitor brain health.
In a recent article published in the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience, the team introduces the world’s first advancement in physiology-based brain vital signs. Their discovery makes it possible to translate complex brainwaves into objective, practical and deployable brain vital signs, using longstanding brainwave technologies that have existed for nearly a century.
HealthTech Connex Inc. is currently developing the NeuroCatchTM platform to enable the highest quality recordings of the brain’s vital signs.
“The brain vital-sign framework described in Frontiers in Neuroscience represents the first step towards an easy way to monitor brain health,” says D’Arcy. “Potential applications are in concussion, brain injury, stroke, dementia and other devastating brain diseases and disorders.”
Vital sign measures are often used in clinics, hospitals and other care centres to assess the performance of various body systems.
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit medical practice and medical research group based in Rochester, Minnesota.
It is the first and largest integrated not-for-profit medical group practice in the world, employing more than 3,800 physicians and scientists and 50,900 allied health staff. The practice specializes in treating difficult cases through tertiary care. It spends over $500 million a year on research. In 2014, Mayo Clinic marks 150 years of continuous service to patients. Dr. William Worrall Mayo settled his family in Rochester, Minn., in 1864 and opened a medical practice that evolved under his sons into Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic has been near the top of the U.S. News & World Report List of “Best Hospitals” for more than 20 years.
The practice is distinguished by integrated care. It has been on the list of America’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” published by Fortune magazine for eight years in a row.
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Mayo Clinic research articles from Innovation Toronto
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