Kingsville, Texas -- A foam shape memory polymer (SMP) has been implanted into the diseased brain of a pig in order to assess the potential for a polyurethane solution to aneurysms.
The work, which is being carried out in the bioengineering department at A&M University in Texas, is being funded by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering.
Associate professor Duncan Maitland, said he and his research group is using SMPs to develop a minimally-invasive procedure that fills and stabilises aneurysms.
According to Maitland's company Shape Memory Therapeutic, the system induces minimal inflammation and so allows the border between the aneurysm and the blood vessel. Maitland claims partial healing was observed at 30 days post-procedure with an almost complete heal occurring at 90 days in the pig model.
Maitland said: "There are people walking around with aneurysms that are untreatable. My hope is to develop a game-changing therapy that reduces the risk of aneurysm ruptures, increases patient safety, and has a real impact on human health care."
It is the foam's ability to be compressed into a very thin sheath which can expand by 100 times into a rigid, porous structure when heated, are critical to the project.
According to Maitland, this expanded foam material could replace the platinum coil currently used to fill aneurysms reducing damage potential to the vessel wall and ensuring a more uniform filling of the aneurysm.