December 2, 2009, Updated September 24, 2012

An Israeli researcher has developed new biodegradable fibers that advance stent technology and brain surgery and disappear when their work is done. The new patent-pending fiber platform carries drugs where they’re needed, then dissolves. Previously, doctors had no choice but to leave them in place.

Prof. Meital Zilberman of Tel Aviv University’s Department of Biomedical Engineering has developed soluble fibers that can be used as coatings for biodegradable or metal stents and dissolve after a pre-programmed period of time.

“Our new composite fibers consist of a strong core coated with a drug-releasing, or ‘eluting,’ solution. They combine strength with the desired elements necessary for drug delivery, so they can be used as the basis of biodegradable drug-eluting stents,” Zilberman explains.

Zilberman says that her drug-eluting fibers – only five times the thickness of a human hair – can be applied in cancer treatments as well, particularly for cancers in hard to reach and sensitive areas such as the brain, or in small children. So far, results of biological experiments using an anti-cancer drug have been very encouraging.

Zilberman has also developed a bone growth scaffold and dissolvable wound healing application, both derived from this basic research.

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