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Open arteries

发布时间:2019-03-08 03:06:10来源:未知点击:

By Max Glaskin ONE-third of people who have surgery to clear arteries blocked with plaque need follow-up surgery within six months to clear further blockages. But a technique that uses laser light and a photosensitising chemical could make repeat surgery unnecessary. The most commonly used method for clearing blockages is balloon angioplasty, in which a small balloon is inflated inside the artery. “Unfortunately the treatment can stimulate the proliferation of smooth muscle cells in the artery wall and they can end up causing another blockage within six months,” says Stephen Bown, director of the National Medical Laser Centre at University College London. The process, an inflammatory response to the clearing of the blockage, is called restenosis. Bown’s team tried a laser-based therapy in seven patients who needed a second balloon angioplasty. Before the procedure, the subjects were given the drug 5-amino laevulinic acid, which sensitises tissue to breakdown by laser light. Immediately after angioplasty, a thin optical fibre inserted into the artery delivered low-power red laser light to the site, killing the smooth muscle cells. Six months later, treated arteries remained clear in all seven patients. “The smooth cells do grow back, but very slowly,” says Bown,