FlowCo technology adds precision to procedures
Indianapolis, IN, August 28, 2007 – More than 1.5 million Americans undergo coronary stent procedures each year to restore blood flow to the heart. This catheter-based placement of a wire mesh tube into an artery opens a clogged blood vessel. Currently, the routine catheter used to deploy the stent does not have a precise method for determining exact placement or a definitive measurement of the circumference of the artery for stent sizing. Error in placement or sizing can lead to poor outcomes including higher rates of restenosis (re-closure) of vessels and increased risk of thrombosis.
A new medical device invented by an Indianapolis biomedical engineer helps size and deliver stents more accurately. The LumenRECON is a catheter-based device that uses electricity to size the cross-section of a blood vessel. Four very small electrical wires are mounted on the exterior of any standard catheter and inserted into the blood vessel. Electrical currents are sent to the electrodes which give the cardiologist a digital output of the measurement for the blood vessel’s cross-sectional area digitally in real-time.
FlowCo, developer of the LumenRECON device, recently received a $250,000 investment from BioCrossroads’ Indiana Seed Fund I, Indiana’s only targeted life sciences seed stage investment fund. Dr. Ghassan Kassab, the Inventor of LumenRECON and Founder and President of FlowCo said that the funding will enable the company to make a human-use prototype for clinical trials scheduled to take place by next summer. The company is currently preparing regulatory documents for the study.
“BioCrossroads’ support and resources have been invaluable and their investment will enable us to get to the next level,” said Dr. Kassab. “The LumenRECON technology will be embedded into the devices that cardiologists and radiologists already use when doing catheterization procedures. This device provides doctors with a lumen map – an immediate, digital reading — to help them be more precise in the placement and sizing of stents. This should result in shorter, and safer procedures.”
“BioCrossroads’ Seed Fund was established in order to invest in promising people, technologies and companies right here in Indiana, and Dr. Kassab’s device epitomizes the kind of life sciences innovations that we support,” said David Johnson, President and CEO of BioCrossroads. “Dr. Kassab is a remarkable person with the vision and determination to improve the future of health care through truly useful technology.”
Dr. Kassab holds the Thomas Linnemeier Guidant Endowed Chair of Biomedical Engineering and is Professor of Surgery, Cellular and Integrative Physiology at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis. Dr. Kassab does research on vascular systems, coronary circulation and tissue remodeling. Beyond basic research, Dr. Kassab also spends time in the clinic in his effort to gain insights and develop technology-driven responses to issues of real importance to practicing physicians.
“I don’t think we can make a contribution to medicine unless we understand what the clinicians do. We work in a collaborative environment with the doctors and surgeons, unifying their experiences with our biomedical engineering expertise,” said Dr. Kassab.
The LumenRECON device can also be used to determine the exact size that a balloon should be inflated during stent insertion into the blood vessel (angioplasty). The LumenRECON, a balloon, and a collapsed stent are advanced toward the site and the balloon is then inflated to the correct size by using the digital measurement from the previous LumenRECON electrode readings. The stent stays in place, the balloon is deflated and the catheter is removed.
“The LumenRECON device addresses several of the issues that are currently associated with stent procedures,” said Dr. James Hermiller, Director, Cardiac Catheterization Labs, The Care Group at St. Vincent’s Hospital, where the clinical study will take place. “I’m excited to work with Dr. Kassab to enhance the stent procedure and improve patient outcomes.”
FlowCo is a medical device company focused on providing products to improve the flow of blood through the vascular system. Impedance technology (the use of electricity), on which the company is founded, provides a platform for the development of products that aid in sizing, diagnosis and treatment of diseased vessels.
FlowCo impedance technology products address the short comings of current products by rapidly providing quantitative data to the physician about the vessel and stent size. The devices are catheter based and will be suitable for peripheral and cardiac applications.
BioCrossroads (www.biocrossroads.com) is Indiana’s initiative to grow the life sciences, a public-private collaboration that supports the region’s research and corporate strengths while encouraging new business development. BioCrossroads provides money and support to life sciences businesses, launches new life sciences businesses, expands collaboration and partnerships among Indiana’s life science institutions, expands science education and markets Indiana’s life sciences industry.
About the Indiana Seed Fund I
The $6 million, return-driven Indiana Seed Fund was launched in June 2005 and is managed by BioCrossroads with funding coming from BioCrossroads, the Indiana Finance Authority and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. The Seed Fund provides working capital in the range of $50,000-$500,000 to promising Indiana life sciences companies at the preliminary stages of operation.
Information on Stent Procedures
A stent is a small wire mesh tube inserted into a blood vessel to keep the vessel open. During the stent deployment procedure, a catheter with an empty balloon on its tip is guided through the arteries to the location of the weakened vessel or plaque build up. The balloon is then inflated to the size of the blood vessel and the stent expands along with the balloon. The balloon is then deflated and removed, leaving the stent in place.
On average, 300,000 patients have surgical procedures to insert stents in blood vessels such as in the legs (peripheral) or neck (Carotid) each year. Approximately 3 million people worldwide have coronary stent surgery on a yearly basis.