Experts in the medicine and textiles fields are praising the NuVascular Technologies patented platform technology currently being developed for applications ranging from artificial blood vessels and haemodialysis catheters to cochlear hearing aid conduits and anti-HIV blood filters.
“The applications are very broad. The technology has a lot to offer and allows for experimentation,” says Mauricio A Contreras, instructor of surgery at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School. “The new platform is very interesting in that it provides the opportunity to design and create unique and specific scaffolds with various biological interactive agents or compounds that will promote and foster new healing to a previously damaged or injured site to re-establish and regain earlier loss of function.”
Scientists at NuVascular Technologies are working on technologies earmarked for 40 different medical devices and company officials believe the technology can be used in the pursuit of dozens more. Co-founded by Matthew D Phaneuf, a noted vascular researcher, and Eugene Anton, a successful entrepreneur, the company recently spun off from BioSurfaces.
Currently in discussions with the Food and Drug Administration, NuVascular Technologies is commercialising its patented electrospinning process used to mimic the natural scaffold onto which tissue grows. The technology allows for greater compatibility between the device and the body with the goal of reducing complications from surgery. It also supports targeted drug delivery that releases medicine at a customised and controlled pace over the patient’s lifetime.
As chief science officer at NuVascular Technologies, Contreras is leading the pre-clinical trials and training vascular surgeons to use and implant the company’s NuSpun artificial blood vessels.
The company’s Advisory Board includes Frank W LoGerfo, professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School, along with other prominent experts in vascular surgery, vascular biology and textile engineering.
“NuVascular’s medical devices are biologically active materials that modify the host material, making it more biocompatible. For example, this new vascular graft material can reduce the formation of blood clots, increase the resistance to infection and more effectively incorporate the surrounding tissues,” LoGerfo says. “For many of these applications, an important advantage of the electrospun material is the potential for multimodal drug delivery. The platform technology from NuVascular is an advance that has significant potential to expand the use of these devices and improve their function.”
“Traditionally, drug-releasing materials for medical use have achieved their effect by degrading over time. But NuVascular’s electrospun materials have the ability to release drugs slowly while maintaining their physical and mechanical properties,” comments Martin J Bide, professor and former chair of the Department of Textiles at the University of Rhode Island, and a member of the NuVascular Advisory Board. His expertise in textile dyeing extends to the interaction of bioactive molecules with fibrous biomaterials, and has been critical to developing the drug loading and subsequent release properties of many of the medical devices. “This structural integrity combined with the ability to release drugs in a controlled manner is what makes these materials unique,” Bide continues.