A new design of flow-diverting stent for direct treatment of brain aneurysms, which lowers cost and risk by removing the need for open-brain surgery or time-consuming endovascular coiling, has been developed by researchers at Oxford University.
Brain aneurysms – localised widenings of blood vessels – can be caused by high blood pressure or head trauma. The weakened wall of the blood vessel balloons to form a cavity that fills with blood. These are prone to rupture and bleed into the brain causing a hemorrhagic stroke, leading to disability or even death.
Existing treatments involve either open-brain surgery to clip the aneurysm, or insertion of a metal wire coil to fill the aneurysm cavity. While these treatments prevent and stem bleeding, the resulting blood clot is unable to break down and reabsorb after it has healed, maintaining pressure on the surrounding brain area.
Oxford researchers have developed a novel design for a flow-diverting intracranial stent. The stent has a leaf design to shield the aneurysm from arterial pressure, while leaving suitable gaps that permit the aneurysm to shrink as the clot breaks down. The manufacturing process is currently being optimised in preparation for preclinical testing.
The stent has a small packing design with strength and flexibility suitable for brain arteries and is minimally invasive, with significantly reduced operating time relative to coil implantation. Manufacture from widely-used biocompatible nitinol is also straightforward and low-cost.
The stent is suitable for the treatment of both saccular and non-saccula aneurysms, including difficult to coil wide-necked aneurysms.
The Oxford invention is subject to a UK patent application. Isis would like to talk to companies and investors interested in commercialising this opportunity.