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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

URI textile scientist helping Boston surgeons
eliminate infection, rejection related to
|artificial arteries

KINGSTON, R.I., -- September 7, 2000 -- A University of Rhode Island researcher is using techniques from textile science that in the near future could reduce many of the problems associated with artificial arteries.

Martin Bide, URI professor of textiles, fashion merchandising and design, has been working with a vascular surgery research team at Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center for the past 10 years on a range of issues with the artificial arteries. Beth Israel Deaconess is a major independent teaching hospital for Harvard Medical School.

The Wakefield, R.I. resident said surgeons unable to use a vein from a patient who needs to bypass a diseased blood vessel in the peripheral (I.E. leg) or cardiac anatomies look to artificial materials like polyester for solutions.

However, these materials are prone to complications like clot formation, infection and poor cellular attachment on the blood contacting surface. Bide said while larger diameter artificial arteries work well, doctors are calling on scientists like him to find ways to fight clot formation, infection and poor cellular attachment for small-diameter arteries.

Infection remains a problem in the cleanest of hospitals. Many have tried to make these materials infection resistant, Bide said, but any surface antibiotic is quickly lost in the body. Previous attempts to prolong infection resistance rely on the introduction of additional binding agents. However, Bide introduced techniques from textile dyeing and discovered means of using antibiotics as dyes. The antibiotic is held in polyester arteries without the use of binding agents.

More recently, the researchers have turned their attention to other materials, and have discovered that alternative dyeing methods can do the same thing for polyurethane, another widely used medical material. Bide said that the researchers used what would be considered a poor dyejob in the textile business, since the antibiotic is gradually lost. However, the slow leaching out of the antibiotic is the key that Provides infection resistance over extended periods of time. When the testing is complete, the goal is to bring products to market through CardioTech International in Woburn, Mass. CardioTech has a Small Business Technology Transfer Grant from the National Institutes of Health, which it has used to fund Bide's work at URI and the surgeons' work in Boston. URI, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, CardioTech and the collaborating researchers hold a joint patent on the infection resistant polyurethane technology.

Another major problem for artificial arteries is that they remain foreign, and the body's own cells do not grow into them. They are also prone to generating blood clots. Binding specific proteins to the artery can potentially solve these problems, but the materials lack the chemical groups to allow binding. Bide introduced another textile technique, used to make polyester less water-repellent, to develop chemical groups on the surface. His colleagues have now bound an age-old medicinal protein from leeches to the modified polyester to develop clot-resistant arteries. They have also developed materials that have increased specific cell attachment to the graft surface. Potentially, this type of artificial artery may be ready for testing in people in the next 10 years.

Bide said many researchers are racing to find answers to problems with using artificial arteries. "We think our approach integrates two areas of research that may yield a novel medical device in the near future," he said.

For Information: Martin Bide 401-874-2276, Dave Lavallee 401-874-2116


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