Cash injection for hospital invention

EXPERTS at the Royal Free Hospital have been awarded �500,000 to take their artificial artery invention to human trials. The grant from the Wellcome Trust means the team are one step closer to providing groundbreaking treatment to thousands of patients wi

EXPERTS at the Royal Free Hospital have been awarded �500,000 to take their artificial artery invention to human trials.

The grant from the Wellcome Trust means the team are one step closer to providing groundbreaking treatment to thousands of patients with vascular disease.

Led by professor of vascular surgery George Hamilton and professor of nanotechnology and tissue repair, Alexander Seifalian, the team developed polymer grafts to replace diseased and blocked arteries.

Current treatment uses a plastic graft or preferably a vein taken from the patient's own leg to replace the damaged vessel, but many patients do not have suitable veins.


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This new material is designed to mimic the natural pulsing of a human blood vessel and aims to replace the plastic grafts currently used in surgery.

Professor Hamilton from the Pond Street hospital in Hampstead said: "Many patients who have needed smaller bypass grafts but have not had suitable veins, have had limbs amputated and some patients unable to have coronary bypass surgery have had heart attacks and died.

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"The new micro-graft pulses rhythmically to match the beat of the heart. As well as this, the new graft material is strong, flexible, resistant to blood clotting and doesn't break down - which is a major breakthrough."

The next stage of the research is due to go to clinical trials at the end of 2010.

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