Biodegradable Shape Memory Foam Plug for Temporary Endovascular Embolization in Interventional Radiology

Collaborator: Singapore General Hospital (SGH)

The overall goal of this project is to develop a biodegradable, self-expanding embolic agent for temporary embolization treatment in liver cancer. Liver cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death worldwide, with over a million people dying each year. Although surgical removal of liver tumors offers the best chance for a cure, more that 70% of the liver cancer patients are inoperable and are treated with palliative transarterial chemoembolization (TACE). In TACE, the hepatic artery is embolized following delivery of the chemotherapeutic agents into the artery. Usually, repeat procedures are common so patency of the hepatic arteries need to be restored before the next treatment can be performed. Currently, Gelform, a gelatin sponge, is typically used for embolization. However, it is required to cut into small pledgets and delivered as a particulate, resulting in an unpredictable occlusion level, uncontrollable target embolization and uncontrollable degradation rate. Hence a need for temporary solid embolic plug is warranted. A biodegradable shape memory embolic plug has been developed and shown to have controllable target occlusion and a predictable degradation rate.

Shape memory of biodegradable embolic coil in 37°C water bath.


Funding agency: A*STAR Biomedical Engineering Programme 2012