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Evaluating a new way to open clogged arteries
Date:5/21/2013

can hold an artery open indefinitely. However, these stents have problems of their own: When implanted, they provoke an immune response that can cause cells to accumulate near the stent and clog the artery again.

In 2003, the FDA approved the first drug-eluting stent for use in the United States, which releases drugs that prevent cells from clumping in the arteries. Drug-eluting stents are now the primary choice for treating blocked arteries, but they also have side effects: The drugs can cause blood to clot over time, which has led to death in some patients. Patients who receive these stents now need to take other medications, such as aspirin and Plavix, to counteract blood clotting.

Edelman's lab is investigating a possible alternative to the current treatments: drug-coated balloons. "We're trying to understand how and when this therapy could work and identify the conditions in which it may not," Kolachalama says. "It has its merits; it has some disadvantages."

Modeling drug release

The drug-coated balloons are delivered by a catheter and inflated at the narrowed artery for about 30 seconds, sometimes longer. During that time, the balloon coating, containing a drug such as Zotarolimus, is released from the balloon. The properties of the coating allow the drug to be absorbed in the body's tissues. Once the drug is released, the balloon is removed.

In their new study, Kolachalama, Edelman and colleagues set out to rigorously characterize the properties of the drug-coated balloons. After performing experiments in tissue grown in the lab and in pigs, they developed a computer model that explains the dynamics of drug release and distribution. They found that factors such as the size of the balloon, the duration of delivery time, and the composition of the drug coating all influence how long the drug stays at the injury site and how effectively it clears the arteries.

One significant finding is that when the
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Contact: Sarah McDonnell
s_mcd@mit.edu
617-253-8923
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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