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Biodegradable Magnetic Stent for Coronary Artery Luminal Regeneration

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Biodegradable stent to restore damaged vessels

Insertion of a stent or tube for treatment of coronary artery disease may result in thrombosis. An EU-funded project is developing a new biodegradable magnetic stent (BMS) to regenerate the damaged vessel.


Healthcare costs due to cardiovascular disease reach hundreds of billions of euros every year in Europe alone. The coronary artery stent has revolutionised coronary artery disease management but thrombotic events occurring at the site of implantation still limit the effectiveness of the procedure.The EU-funded 'Biodegradable magnetic stent for coronary artery luminal regeneration' (BIOMAGSCAR) proposed using the stent as a magnetic platform for attracting patient’s endothelial progenitor cells in vitro. Once implanted into the patient, these progenitor cells will differentiate into new endothelium while the stent undergoes degradation.Following the FDA Guidelines for Vascular Implants, partners have optimised the design and structure of the BMS and assessed its suitability. The biodegradable polymer poly-L-lactide (PLLA) has been used to coat the stent before incorporating the magnetisable nano-particles. Iron-platinum nanoparticles have been chosen for this purpose due to their capacity to hold a magnetic field for at least 60 days. The durability and degradation pattern of the resultant stent is being tested in a specialised bioreactor.The consortium isolated and labelled endothelial progenitor cells from umbilical cord blood for the live cell component of the stent. Ongoing evaluation in animal models will determine the impact of the BMS on vessel morphology and function.Furthermore researchers are exploring the use of a gene therapy approach to overexpress the angiogenic factor Neuropilin-1 on the artery wall in combination with the BMS. This strategy is believed to improve the regeneration outcome of the damaged coronary artery.Taken together, the BIOMAGSCAR stent comes as an improvement to existing devices because of its biodegradable nature and regenerative potential. Its clinical implementation in high-risk cases where narrowing of the vessel occurs again or where thrombosis occurs is expected to halve the number of patients that require repeated treatment.


Cardiovascular disease, biodegradable magnetised stent, endothelial cells, regenerative medicine

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Scientific advances

9 September 2019