On 8 September 2011, Abbott announced the initiation of ABSORB BTK, an international clinical trial evaluating the safety and efficacy of the Absorb bioresorbable vascular scaffold for the treatment of below-the-knee critical limb ischaemia. Absorb restores blood flow by opening a blocked vessel and providing support to the vessel until the device dissolves within approximately two years. The first patient was enrolled into the ABSORB BTK trial by Marc Bosiers, head of the Department of Vascular Surgery at St Blasius Hospital in Dendermonde, Belgium.
“Patients with critical limb ischaemia often progress to where they have few options beyond limb amputation, so there is a tremendous need for new therapies to prevent this outcome,” said Dierk Scheinert, professor of Medicine, University of Leipzig, Germany, and principal investigator of the ABSORB BTK trial. “The ABSORB device represents the next generation in revascularisation therapies that may hold promise for patients with vessel disease in the lower leg. With the ABSORB BTK trial, we will test whether this novel approach – restoring blood flow with a temporary scaffold – has the potential to improve the outcomes of patients with critical limb ischaemia.”
The ABSORB device is made of polylactide, a proven biocompatible material that is commonly used in medical implants such as dissolvable sutures. Because a permanent metallic implant is not left behind, naturally occurring vessel functions may be restored, which is one of the features that make this device a significant innovation. In January 2011, Abbott announced that Absorb received CE mark and is authorised for sale in Europe for the treatment of coronary artery disease. Absorb currently is under development and is not available for sale in the United States.
ABSORB BTK is a prospective, single-arm, multicentre trial designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the Absorb device in up to 90 patients with below-the-knee critical limb ischaemia at up to 10 clinical trial sites in Europe and New Zealand. The primary endpoint is a composite of freedom from major adverse limb events (major amputation or major re-interventions) within one year or death within 30 days of the procedure.
“With the ABSORB BTK trial, we will be able to evaluate our bioresorbable drug and device technology as a potentially new therapeutic option for patients with below-the-knee critical limb ischaemia,” said Charles A Simonton, divisional vice president, Medical Affairs, and chief medical officer, Abbott Vascular. “Our efforts to apply this technology to the treatment of vascular diseases beyond coronary artery disease underscore our continued commitment to developing innovative products to improve vascular care for patients.”