In one of the more common treatments for heart disease, surgeons insert a stent - or tube - into an artery to improve blood flow and reduce chest pain for patients. Stents carry with them, however, significant risk for clotting.
Bucknell University President John Bravman, while a professor of materials science and engineering at Stanford University, worked with collaborator Dimitrios Pantelidis to tackle the problem.
"When stents are inserted into arteries there is often a concern over restenosis, or the formation of a new blood clot around the stent," says Bravman. "There are various approaches to this problem, one being to use a coating on the stent that releases a drug to prevent restenosis. Our process provides the coating in such a way that the drug is released at the proper rate."
Bravman and Pantelidis designed a patented coating, made of inorganic mesoporous oxide, to adhere to organic polymers, metals and other bio-compatible materials. The material assists in drug-delivery and makes the procedure safer for patients.
The process used to create the stent coating eventually could be applied to large-scale manufacturing or other non-stent applications for localized drug delivery. Bravman notes that the innovation is a good example of how discovery in one field can prompt improvements in an entirely different field.