Stents are small tubes or tubular shaped meshes which are used to keep or rebuild the luminal size (i. e the inner open space or cavity) of a tubular organ, as of coronary arteries or the esophagus. They are most commonly used in the treatment of stenosis (narrowing of the blood vessels). Stents can be utilized as implants or in conjunction with an angioplasty (a technique for widening narrowed arteries). The most common complications when using stents are in-stent restenosis and stent loss. In-stent restenosis is the re-narrowing of the implanted stent which occurs in about 30% of all cases. To prevent restenosis, drug eluting stents have been developed, but a big problem of drug eluting stents are the late effects, such as increased risk of bleeding, acute intoxication and the formation of tumors. With the help of microstructured polymer stents these problems can be prevented. The microstructured polymer stents are made of a shape memory polymer. Below body temperature, the shape memory polymer stent has a compressed geometry (temporary form). When heating the shape memory polymer stent on body temperature, the stent turns into an uncompressed geometry (predefined permanent form). As the inner surface of the stent is microstructured it limits laminar flows and thus prevents in-stent restenosis. The outer surface is structured leading to a fixation of the stent and thereby preventing stent loss. Therefore, the polymer stent is a reliable device for angioplastic procedures.
The structuring of the polymer surface can be achieved with different methods, e. g. via moulding, laser structuring or etching.The university is interested in a partnership on the basis of a licence agreement or a research cooperation agreement, in order to reach large scale application of the stent in the human body and to develop a product ready for the European market and beyond.