URI textile scientist helping Boston surgeons
eliminate infection, rejection related to
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
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
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,"
For Information: Martin Bide 401-874-2276, Dave Lavallee