Date of release: Monday, March 14, 2011

A1931-Stents-research-ScienceScientists from the University of Greenwich have won nearly three quarters of a million pounds of funding for a research project aimed at improving treatments for patients with heart problems.

Some patients, particularly those with heart disease, require tiny, artificial tubes to be inserted into their arteries. These tubes, known as stents, help keep the arteries open, which combats the effects of reduced blood flow, such as blood clots, in blocked arteries.

Researchers from the university's School of Science are developing a new kind of stent, which has a special coating and slowly releases drugs into the patient's blood stream, to help improve his or her condition.

The new stent is being developed by the University of Greenwich in partnership with two universities in France - Université Lille 1 and Université du Droit et de la Santé de Lille, also known as Université Lille II. The two-year research project has won more than 860,000 euros (or £740,000) of funding from the European Union's INTERREG programme.

Professor Jeremy Everett, Head of Pharmaceutical, Chemical & Environmental Sciences at the University of Greenwich, said: "We are excited about the possibilities of improving cardiac medicine with this new technology.

"While stents have been around for many years, statistics show they can, unfortunately, still lead to post-operative complications, and sometimes death, after heart surgery. With our new type of stent we are hoping to decrease these complications and both extend, and improve, the lives of patients after surgery."

Dr Dennis Douroumis, Senior Lecturer at the university's School of Science, is leading the research project. He explained that, while many stents currently in use are simple tubes which keep the arteries open, the research being carried out by Greenwich and its French partners is aiming to deliver something innovative. "Our stent will have a special plastic coating, which will slowly deliver one or more drugs into the blood stream. This will help tackle problems that can arise around the heart such as infections, inflammation and thrombosis, or the clotting of blood," he said.

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 universities of Greenwich and Lille are hoping to attract major commercial interest both in the UK and in Europe once they have produced the first prototype of the new stent.

The INTERREG scheme, which is funding the project, helps organisations across Europe to work together to share knowledge and improve economic, social and environmental conditions.

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For images or more information please contact:
Nick Ellwood, Press Officer.
University of Greenwich
Tel: 020 8331 9420

Notes For Editors:


Photo caption: Dr Dennis Douroumis, Senior Lecturer at the School of Science.

University of Greenwich

The University of Greenwich is a large university with three campuses - in Greenwich, at the Old Royal Naval College, a World Heritage site; in Avery Hill, south-east London, set among 86 acres of parkland; and in Medway, at an elegant Edwardian red-brick campus in Chatham Maritime. The university is home to a thriving community of nearly 29,000 students, one in five of them postgraduate, and combines strong regional, national and international links with a record for excellence in research and a mission for access to higher education.

The university carried out more than £15 million of research and consultancy for companies, research councils and other public and private bodies last year. The quality of the university's research work has been recognised in the award of three Queen's Anniversary Prizes for Higher & Further Education and four recent Times Higher Education awards.

Alongside its major economic, social and cultural contribution, the university prides itself on its high standards of teaching, careers guidance and personal support. The two most recent Sunday Times University Guides have placed Greenwich at the top of the London league table for student satisfaction. In the 2011 Sunday Times Guide, Greenwich was ranked 26th overall for student satisfaction, placing it among the top quarter of all UK universities. Greenwich also topped the publication's national league table for student satisfaction in a variety of subjects including Civil, Chemical and other Engineering courses, Law, and Medical Sciences and Pharmacy. The Sunday Times added that students at the Greenwich campus "have some of the most exquisite university grounds in the country".

People from more than 100 countries choose to study at Greenwich, as part of an international student community of 5,000. The university also has an extensive international network of partnerships with universities and overseas colleges.