Two recent innovations by the School of Materials Sience and Engineering, Nanyang Technological University (NTU), look set to revolutionize biomedical treatment.
The first innovation is probably the world's first multiple drug-eluting biodegradable stent for use in any part of the body where fluid flow, including blood, is disrupted. The stent is made from biodegradable polymer approved by US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and it is programmed to dissolve in 3-6 months. This product is expected to enhance the quality of life and reduce medical cost as patients no longer need to undergo another operation to remove the stent after implant because it will disappear within 3-6 months. The stent can be used for coronary applications, cranial applications, urological applications and bronchial applications.
The team from NTU is in the process of forming a company to realize the commercial value of this new generation stent. They are signing commercial agreements with major biomedical companies for these four categories of applications. One of the world's biggest multinational biomedical companies has signed a commercial agreement with the NTU team to use the stents for coronary applications.
The second innovation, also believed to be a world-first, is a frictionless micro-pump that can draw liquids into or out various body parts. The device looks like a tiny tube, and can be used to help pump blood into areas of the body, such as gangrene patients, or drain excess fluids in the brain or lung.
This frictionless micro-pump combines patented technologies of the School of Materials Science and Engineering at NTU and the Department of Bioengineering at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). They got together to work on the frictionless micro-pump in January 2003. A team of about five staff members led by Prof Gharib worked on the project in Caltech while a team of seven staff members and about five undergraduate and graduate students worked on the project at NTU. Both NTU and Caltech are forming a company in California to exploit the commercial value of this device, which boosts blood flow.
This company will be based in California in the United States. Already, the start-up has received major commercial support from a Californian biomedical company.