A fortuitous discovery that grew out of a collaboration between UCLA engineers and physicians could potentially offer hope to the nearly 10 million Americans who suffer from peripheral arterial disease.
Also known as hardening of the arteries, peripheral arterial disease, or PAD, is a common circulatory problem in which narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to the limbs. The condition is considered a red flag for vascular disease, heart attack and stroke, and its progression can result in the loss of limbs or death.
While there are currently several treatments for PAD, including balloon angioplasty, stenting and bypass surgery, devices used in the latter two can frequently cause thrombosis, in which clots form inside blood vessels, obstructing blood flow and leading to serious complications.
Now, a team from the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, in collaboration with researchers from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, is working to develop a PAD treatment device that can prevent thrombosis in small-diameter blood vessels.
Their research centers on stents that incorporate a material known as Nitinol, a superelastic nickel and titanium alloy that has the ability to be deformed and to recover its original shape upon heating.
In recognition of the potential of the research, the National Institutes of Health's National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute recently awarded the team a $1 million Challenge Grant.
"What we've been doing at UCLA for the last five to 10 years now is working with thin-film Nitinol," said Greg Carman, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and lead investigator for the multidisciplinary research team, which was organized under the umbrella of the UCLA Center for Advanced Surgical and Interventional Technologies.
"Nitinol, discovered back in the 1960s, is a shape-memory material. They thought it was going to revoluti
|Contact: Wileen Wong Kromhout|
University of California - Los Angeles