Researchers from BMD have just started a collaborative international research project, led by the University of Southern Denmark (SDU), which aims to develop a revolutionary artificial blood vessel.
Artificial blood vessels have been used for more than 50 years when the patients themselves do not have the necessary ‘spare parts’. This may be because the veins cannot be used due to varicose veins, or they are missing because of previous surgery or dialysis access. Over the years, only small advances have been made in the area to prevent the most frequent and serious complications with artificial blood vessels, which are particularly significant when the vessels are used for dialysis. In this case, up to 70 percent of blood vessels occlude or become infected within a year.
The project’s idea is to use a special chemistry that mimics the natural properties of the blood vessels in the body. Medicines can also be embedded in the material to inhibit bacterial infection and scar tissue formation in the sutures.
However, the researchers do not believe that the complications can be ruled out completely. For this reason, the blood vessels are equipped with a pressure gauge that can monitor the blood flow remotely, for example from hospitals, and thus send alerts about impending occlusion. The blood vessels will also have an embedded optical sensor, which uses laser technology and so-called Raman spectroscopy to pick up any signs of incipient infection. The signal generated by the sensors will be then integrated in telemonitoring software system (to be developed by BMD Software).
“Today we usually only discover any complications when it is too late, but with telemonitoring we get an early warning, allowing us to make corrections before any problems arise. This is a completely new approach which has enormous potential to reduce both patients’ suffering and the costs of the healthcare system”, quoting Jes S. Lindholt, the project coordinator.
The upcoming blood vessel is therefore aptly named TELEGRAFT. ‘Tele’ stands for telemonitoring, and ‘graft’ refers to the implantation of the artificial blood vessel. Once TELEGRAFT is fully developed and has undergone animal experiments, it will be tested in an international study with participants from Denmark, Sweden, Lithuania, Germany and Spain. TELEGRAFT is planned to be ready for clinical use in 4-5 years.
- The University of Southern Denmark (SDU), Denmark
- VERIGRAFT AB, Sweden
- Biomodics APS, Denmark
- Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology E.V. (IPTH), Germany
- Odense University Hospital, Denmark
- Aston University, England
- BMD Software Lda, Portugal
- Karolinska Institute, Sweden
- Viesoji Istaiga Vilniaus Universiteto Ligonine Santaros Klinikos, Lithuania
- The Rechts Der Isar Clinic, The Technical University of Munich, Germany
- Servicio Vasco de Salud Osakidetza, Spain
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