An innovation inspired by nanotechnology which will make cardiovascular surgery safer and more effective has won a prestigious national award for the Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust.
The team based at the Royal Free Hospital has developed a small diameter bypass graft made from a polymer for use in coronary artery and lower limb arterial surgery.
George Hamilton, professor of vascular surgery, and Alexander Seifalian, professor of nanotechnology and tissue repair, worked with their team to create the new implanted device which has been recognised by Medical Futures.
Professor Seifalian said: “This really is a breakthrough as the graft actually mimics the human artery. It is common in patients with vascular disease for their blood vessels to become blocked and the current surgical treatment is to bypass the blocked vessel using a vein taken from the patient’s own leg.
“However, many patients do not have suitable veins for this purpose and the artificial materials available at the moment have poor results because they are made from stiff materials which actually promote blood clotting on their inner surfaces. Consequently, the new device gives patients with this condition a completely new option.”
Professor Hamilton added: “We are delighted that our innovation has been recognised by Medical Futures. We wanted to develop a safer, more reliable way to treat blocked arteries. The graft has been tested extensively with a very high success rate. This innovation has the potential to revolutionise cardiac and vascular surgery and we hope it may have a wider application in other areas such as catheters and other implantable prosthetic devices.”
The team’s next aim is to take the device to clinical trials and then to an industrial partner who can help take it forward commercially.
The team received £1,000 in prize money and was overall winner of the cardiovascular innovations category in the Medical Futures Innovation Awards 2007.
The annual awards are recognised within the industry as the most prestigious healthcare accolade and allow healthcare professionals to suggest and implement improvements to medicines, surgery and patient care.