Five-year project sets out to improve brain aneurysm treatments with customisable device

Chung-Hao Lee

A team from the University of Oklahoma (Norman, USA) has embarked on a five-year research project with the intention of designing a device that can be customised to better treat brain aneurysms.

For the project, researchers are set to use advanced biomedical 3D printing to design and create unique devices that can be tailored to the specific geometrical shape, size and location of a specific aneurysm.

Under the direction of Chung-Hao Lee (University of Oklahoma, Norman, USA), the team will target subarachnoid haemorrhages—bleeding that occurs in the space between the brain and the surrounding membrane—in an effort to improve on current approaches. These include surgical clip ligation via a “high-risk” open-skull procedure, and endovascular coil embolisation, which the researchers note is the current “gold-standard” intracranial aneurysm therapy.

“The driving problem is, even with this technique [coiling], due to the complexity of the shape, size or geometry of the aneurysm, there is a heightened risk of recurrence,” Lee said. “It is possible that, five or six years after initial embolisation, 20–25% of patients will develop the same issue again. So, it is increasing the corresponding healthcare burden, and may also lead to poor prognosis and even mortality for the patient.”

Lee is working with Yingtao Liu (University of Oklahoma, Norman, USA), Bradley Bohnstedt (Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, USA) and Hyowon Lee (Purdue University, West Lafayette, USA) on this endeavour—which has been funded by a US$3.25 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

“The overall clinical and translational benefits of our project will be to prevent aneurysm rupture and its induced strokes, which accounts for roughly 15% of new strokes every year, and to decrease the 20% rate of failed cases from the current gold standard,” Lee concluded. “This is an extremely promising area to drive the clinical field forward.”


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