The National Endowment of Science, Technology and Arts has announced it will be funding clinical trials of a ground-breaking new treatment to help kidney dialysis patients.
It has invested £95,000 in the SwirlGraft project based at Imperial College London, which could prevent the development of a disease found in people using dialysis machines.
The majority of patients are given a synthetic vessel under their skin to facilitate regular hypodermic puncturing and to maximise blood-flow to the dialysis machine.
But these often develop the potentially lethal "intimal hyperplasia" which blocks the blood supply and results in most grafts requiring replacement within a year.
However, the SwirlGraft vascular access graft from Veryan Medical recreates the natural swirling fluid flow of the body and prevents the development of the disease.
The device has been developed by Professor Colin Caro at Imperial College, a world expert on the links between the physics of blood flow and disease, and comes on the back of research dating back to 1966.
Mark White, NESTA's Invention and Innovation Director, said: "We are delighted to be investing in a product which meets an urgent need for improved clinical performance, as well as bringing huge benefits to dialysis patients from around the world."
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NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY AND THE ARTS
12 August 2004
BREAKTHROUGH IN TREATMENT FOR KIDNEY DIALYSIS PATIENTS
A ground-breaking medical approach which could substantially improve
the quality of life for over a million kidney dialysis patients, and
bring huge savings to health services around the globe, is one step
closer to becoming a reality, thanks to NESTA (the National Endowment
of Science, Technology and the Arts) - the organisation that backs UK
NESTA has invested £95,000 in a university spin-out, Veryan Medical
Limited, based at London's Imperial College, to further develop their
ground-breaking approach. The company has been financed to date by
NPI Ventures Limited and Imperial College Innovations.
Veryan are dedicated to developing a number of novel medical devices
to address urgent, unmet medical needs in the field of vascular
disease, the greatest cause of death in the modern world. Their
inventions are designed to recreate the natural swirling fluid flow
of the body and prevent the development of disease. The first device
to be tested in clinical human trials will be the SwirlGraft(tm)
vascular access graft.
Currently, there are over one million people requiring regular
connection to a kidney dialysis machine in order to sustain their
lives. A majority of these patients have a synthetic vessel, called a
vascular access graft, inserted beneath the skin to facilitate
regular hypodermic puncturing and to maximize blood-flow to the
dialysis machine. However, these grafts typically develop a
potentially lethal disease, called 'intimal hyperplasia', which can
block the downstream junction with the natural vessel in just a few
months. This results in most grafts requiring replacement within a
year, and many patients require remedial surgery up to three times a
SwirlGraft(tm) has the potential to be the most effective solution to
this problem. By ensuring appropriate swirling blood flow through the
dialysis graft and into the downstream vein, it stands to greatly
reduce the disease by eliminating the stagnant flow regions where
intimal hyperplasia proliferates. The SwirlGraft(tm) device has been
developed by Professor Colin Caro at Imperial College, and comes on
the back of research dating back to 1966. Professor Caro is
considered to be a world expert on the links between the physics of
blood flow and disease. Veryan Medical is headed up by Philip Birch
who brings substantial expertise of building and funding early stage
NESTA's investment will be used to develop the SwirlGraft(tm) device
from the current experimental proof of concept through to clinical
proof of concept. The trials will be based in the Netherlands and
will involve 25 dialysis patients fitted with SwirlGraft(tm) for
their vascular access, monitored for a year. Mark White, NESTA's
Invention and Innovation Director, said: "We are delighted to be
investing in a product which meets an urgent need for improved
clinical performance, as well as bringing huge benefits to dialysis
patients from around the world."
Notes to editors
* NESTA (the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts)
is a non-departmental public body (NDPB) investing in innovators and
working to improve the climate for creativity in the UK.
* Established in 1998 and set up with an endowment from the National
Lottery (£200 million, raised in 2003 to £250 million), NESTA invests
the interest to support UK innovation. Since May 2000, when the
programmes first opened, NESTA has spent over £58m on programmes
supporting 563 awards (figures to March 2004). Visit www.nesta.org.uk
to find out more.
* NESTA has a dedicated Media Room on its web site where news
releases like this are easily available and where journalists can
subscribe to receive any future releases. Other information,
including high-resolution images to download and Communications
contact details, are also available at www.nesta.org.uk/mediaroom
* NESTA's Invention and Innovation programme, which is largest source
of seed funding in the UK, has invested in 234 projects at a total of
£14,770,052 since December 1999.
* NPI Ventures - NPI Ventures is a £20 million technology investment
company, established in 2002 by Nikko Principal Investments Limited
(NPIL). The company has an investment agreement with Imperial
College Innovations Limited, the technology transfer arm of Imperial
College. NPI Ventures invests alongside the Imperial College
University Challenge Seed Fund and also invests in external funding
rounds of Imperial generated companies.
* NPI Ventures investments include Ceres Power, a technology
development company specialising in fuel cells and ComMedica, which
has developed the world's most advanced web-based clinical
* Nikko Principal Investments Limited - NPIL was founded in 1997 and
is the European principal finance arm of Nikko Cordial Corporation,
one of Japan's biggest securities companies.
NPIL operates as a dynamic principal investor, combining the
characteristics of venture capital or private equity firms with the
ability to innovatively structure and underwrite debt. NPIL seeks
out businesses (public and private) where it believes it can apply
the financial expertise of its 30 strong team to assist management
teams in the restructuring of assets to optimize the cost of capital
and to enhance operational efficiency. Sectors of focus are those
that offer high quality assets, backed up by long term stable
cashflows, such as Transport, Financial, Healthcare, Property and
Do you have the time to be inspired?
NESTA is calling for applications for the next round of Dreamtime.
This offers tailored support of up to £40,000 to high achievers in
science, technology, and the arts to develop their creative
potential. Up to 16 Dreamtime Fellowships are available, if you are
interested go to http://www.nesta.org.uk/dreamtime/2004