Researchers get cash for stent

Scientists from the UK's University of Greenwich's Medway campus have won £750,000 (roughly $1.2 million) for work on a new kind of stent that will slowly release drugs into the bloodstream. The stent is being developed in partnership with two universities in France, the school says in a statement.

While many currently used stents are simple tubes that keep the arteries open, Greenwich and its partners want to deliver something innovative, according to Dennis Douroumis, senior lecturer at the university's School of Science and leader of the research project. "Our stent will have a special plastic coating, which will slowly deliver one or more drugs into the blood stream," Douroumis explains in a statement. "This will help tackle problems that can arise around the heart such as infections, inflammation and thrombosis, or the clotting of blood," he adds.

Stents are most commonly used after angioplasty surgery, which is the technique of widening a narrowed or obstructed blood vessel. More than 45,000 angioplasties are carried out each year in the UK alone, and it is estimated that this number is even higher in France.

The partners hope to attract commercial interest in both the UK and in Europe once they have produced the first prototype of the new stent.

- see the University of Greenwich statement