Scots scientists harness car exhaust fume chemicals in bid to cure heart disease
CAR exhaust fume chemicals are to be used in a pioneering heart disease treatment, under development by Scottish scientists.
In small doses, the toxic chemicals carbon monoxide and nitric oxide have the potentially beneficial effect of preventing blood clotting.
This is very useful for implanted medical devices, such as stents, which are used to open blocked blood vessels in patients suffering from heart disease.
A major problem with stents is blood clotting, reblocking the blood vessel, meaning the patient may suffer another heart attack or need a new operation to replace the stent.
Stent coatings based on the car exhaust fume chemicals might be the answer.
Professor Ian Megson and his team are studying a novel coating approach, allowing for slow release of the anti-blood clotting agents. This is based upon metal-organic chemical structures, with a high storage capacity for the gases.
Existing nitric oxide coatings disappear after a few hours so their beneficial effects are limited. This new approach enables long-term protection from blood clotting.
Prof Megson commented: “These things take a long time to get from bench to bedside, but patients with heart disease can look at this with some optimism.”
He also highlighted the potential of this work to prevent clotting on other medical devices, or even for these coatings to prevent the unwanted bacterial growth, which causes infection, on urinary catheters.
The researchers will test whether a mixture of gases is more effective than one gas alone. They will also determine the timescales of gaseous release from the new chemical structures.
Prof Megson, based at the University of Highlands and Islands, is collaborating with chemists at St Andrews University on the project, funded by the British Heart Foundation.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Thursday 23 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 4 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 17 mph
Wind direction: North east