Aneurysms, abnormal bulges in blood vessels, pose a serious health risk, often stemming from conditions like atherosclerosis, infections, and inflammatory diseases. The chronic inflammation associated with these conditions triggers an excess production of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), enzymes that degrade vessel wall fibers, potentially leading to fatal bulges. Aortic aneurysms, particularly, rank as the second most common aortic disease globally, emphasizing the urgent need for effective treatments.

Conventionally, aneurysms are managed non-invasively by inserting covered stents to reinforce vessel walls and prevent blood flow into the bulge. However, this method may fail due to leaks between the stent and vessel wall, known as endoleaks, necessitating additional procedures.

Addressing this challenge, scientists at the Terasaki Institute for Biomedical Innovation (TIBI) have developed an innovative shear-thinning injectable hydrogel for treating abdominal aortic aneurysms, offering improved sealing and growth inhibition.

This embolic agent combines a shear-thinning gelatin-based hydrogel, solidifying upon injection, with silicate nanoplatelets to enhance cohesion and blood clotting. Moreover, it incorporates doxycycline (DOX), an FDA-approved drug known for eliminating dysfunctional endothelial cells and neutralizing MMPs. DOX achieves immediate cell elimination and sustained MMP inhibition, validated through animal studies using the hydrogel on pig aorta samples.

Further experiments showed that DOX addition enhanced injectability, cohesion, and embolic strength of the hydrogel, reducing clotting time by 33%. The hydrogel effectively embolized in an endoleak laboratory model and impacted the expression of critical proteins for endothelial cell function, blood vessel development, and clot formation. These findings hint at the hydrogel’s potential for treating aneurysms elsewhere in the body, underscoring the need for long-term safety and efficacy studies.

«This work represents a significant advancement in aneurysm treatment,» remarked Dr. Ali Khademhosseinini, Director and CEO of TIBI. «We are hopeful that this work can progress to further testing and clinical trials, enabling us to bring this technology to patients.»

Article written by Medical Xpress



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