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Melt-Away Stent Works Well in Trial
Date:3/13/2008

Absorbed harmlessly in the body, it could replace traditional metal stents

THURSDAY, March 13 (HealthDay News) -- A polymer stent that is quietly absorbed by the body after it has done its job of keeping a coronary artery open has worked well in an international trial, researchers report.

The stent was successfully implanted in 29 of 31 attempts, the report said. In a one-year follow-up, none of the arteries in which the bio-absorbable stent had been implanted had closed again. One of the 30 people given the stent had a heart attack during that time, but no other adverse events were reported, according to the report in the March 15 issue of The Lancet.

A major clinical trial of the experimental stent is under way in several countries, said Karin Bauer, a spokeswoman for Abbott Laboratories, the company that developed the device. Plans for a U.S. trial are in the preliminary stages, she said.

"We currently are looking at the safety and feasibility of using the bio-absorbable stent platform in patients here," Bauer said. "Once we have completed the international trial, we will look at the feasibility of bringing such a trial to the United States, but we haven't made any decision as to when that might be."

The new stent has a backbone of lactic acid. It also is coated with everolimus, a drug that prevents formation of scar tissue.

Traditional stents are wire metal mesh tubes used to prop open an artery during angioplasty, a procedure done to clear blockages from the blood vessel.

An absorbable stent has many potential advantages, said Dr. Patrick W. Serruys, a professor of medicine and interventional cardiology at Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, one site of the international trial. Other sites are located in Denmark, Poland and New Zealand.

"The so-called restenosis process takes place in the first six months, so there is no need to have a permanent
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