TEMPE, Ariz. Biomedical research at Arizona State University will be boosted with support from the American Heart Association for the work of three bioengineers.
Grants from the association were recently awarded to associate professor Brent Vernon and assistant professors David Frakes and Xiao Wang. Each is a faculty member in the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering, one of ASU's Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.
Vernon, director of the Center for Interventional Biomaterials at ASU, and Frakes are seeking to help develop new treatments for brain aneurysms through research they are conducting in partnership with the Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix.
Wang is developing mathematical modeling to predict behavior of cellular processes and engineered gene networks and their impact on cardiovascular health.
Brain aneurysms can be major factors in the onset and progression of cardiovascular diseases, including heart disease and stroke, which are among the leading causes of death in the United States.
Aneurysms form in weak spots in junctions where arteries join, causing them to balloon into pouches of tissue that fill with blood. If the pouches leak or rupture, blood spills out into surrounding tissues, which can potentially cause stroke and related serious threats to the body's vascular system.
Vernon is focusing on improving techniques to deliver therapeutic drugs to aneurysm sites to "seal them off" and prevent those dangerous leaks and ruptures.
Devices now used to treat aneurysms are made of platinum coils that cause blood to clot inside the aneurysm, cutting off further blood flow into the pouch essentially arresting growth of the aneurysm.
A drawback, Vernon explains, is that the coils tend to compact over time and a stable layer of new protective tissues doesn't consistently form over the coils. The result can be reo
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Arizona State University