'Smart' molecule infusion could reduce post-stenting blockages

An infusion of artificial RNA molecules into stented arteries prevented new blockages and encouraged beneficial cell growth, according to research presented this week at the American Heart Association's Vascular Discovery Scientific Sessions.

Often, after stents are inserted into arteries to open narrowed blood vessels, medicines delivered by the stents are unable to both inhibit the growth of blockage-causing vascular smooth muscle cells and promote the growth of healing endothelial cells. As a result, these medications can cause blood clots and renewed narrowing of blood vessels.

In the study, slated for publication in Molecular Theory: Nucleic Acids in June, scientists delivered artificial molecules into arteries using a perfusion catheter, and found that the synthetic RNA killed off vascular smooth muscle cells more effectively than other medications, while also leaving endothelial cells unharmed.

"Our study suggests safer and more efficacious drugs may be developed for use with drug-eluting stents," said William Thiel, PhD, lead author of the study and an assistant professor at the University of Iowa. "These potential drugs would benefit patients receiving stents by alleviating the clinical challenges associated with the current generation of drug-eluting stents."

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