Development of catheter-based light-enhanced therapies

Early Stage Researcher: Noemi Vanerio

Host institution: LIFETEC


The ESR will develop a catheter-based device that will enable light-enhanced treatment of arteries from the lumen. To this end a light source will be integrated into a balloon catheter, where during balloon inflation the light emitted can act on the vascular wall directly or initiate a chemical reaction with a coating deposited on the outer surface of the balloon or the vascular wall. Furthermore, the ESR will be involved in assessment of ultrasound coatings of catheter components in order to increase visibility of the device during positioning under Ultrasound imaging.

The ESR will work in a team experienced in ex-vivo artery platforms, in particular learning to work with an ex-vivo artery model that is loaded physiologically in terms of hemodynamic flow and pressure. The ESR will apply the catheter based device in the ex-vivo platform to assess the developed light-enhanced therapy. Targeted applications of the device are local drug delivery, intravascular coating or sealing of anastomoses or vascular grafts. The ESR will develop a method to quantify the effectiveness of the applied treatment. Concerning drug delivery, the efficacy of the treatment may be studied by investigating the transfer of medication to the vascular tissue by chemical quantification methods such as HPLC. The uptake of medication into the vascular wall may be assessed by means of histological staining or analyzing drug quantity in different layers of the tissue wall. Histological staining will also indicate changes in tissue remodeling after drug treatment compared to control arteries. After culturing the arteries for a period of 4-6 weeks following an intervention, remodeling of the vascular wall can be studied mechanically (tensile testing, tissue-contraction testing, compliance testing ), and histologically. For a coating or sealing therapy, bonding strength of coating/scaffold materials to the vascular wall will be tested mechanically instantaneously as well as after a culturing period of 4-6 weeks. The expected outcome of this Task is a device prototype of which the proof of principle is demonstrated.

Besides the biomedical engineering activities, the ESR is also responsible for an analysis of clinical needs such that the targeted application has a potential to be translated into clinical practice.

Expected Results

i) a prototype balloon catheter which allows a vascular wall to be illuminated, ii) knowledge on light-responsive coatings and their interaction with devices and living tissues, iii) a novel approach to percutaneous intravascular intervention with potentially a diverse field of application.