Stents: small expandable tubes inserted into dangerously blocked arteries to help keep them open, have, up to now, been made of metal. But having metallic tubes permanently implanted in blood vessels can cause complications. The advent of new stents made of biodegradable and biocompatible material should not only improve patient comfort but also help prevent chronic inflammation caused by the presence of metal and the need for long-term medication.
The "non-active" biocompatible stent from French start-up Arterial Remodeling was developed by Professor Antoine Lafont, a cardiologist at the Georges Pompidou Hospital in Paris, and Professor Michel Vert, a chemist at CNRS specialising in biodegradable polymers.
Made of polylactic acid polymer, the new stent promotes natural "arterial remodelling" (enlargement of the artery) before being fully absorbed after about 18 months.
The specialists describe it as "a real breakthrough". If their safety and effectiveness can be proved in practice, this is probably where the future of stents lies. The French start-up will be monitoring their implantation in thirty patients over the coming months, with the first results expected in six months’ time.