NIH funds innovative electroactive polymer based steerable catheter for the treatment of AF


Strategic Polymer Sciences (SPS), an innovator in advanced medical devices based on its proprietary electroactive polymer (EAP) technology, announced on 22 June 2010 it has received a US$2.2 million grant from the US National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The SPS grant is one of only ten awarded nationwide by the NIH under a Recovery Act Limited Competition called The Biomedical Research, Development, and Growth to Spur the Acceleration of New Technologies (BRDG-SPAN) Pilot Program. These grants are designed to “bridge” the gap between R&D and commercialisation for promising new medical technologies.

The grant will support the design and commercialisation of SPS’s revolutionary steerable cardiac mapping and ablation catheter technology. Mapping and ablation catheters are used to treat atrial fibrillation. The precise movement or micro-steerability of the SPS technology uses computer-controlled precision to locate the catheter tip. This type of precision ensures greater success rates, reduces physician fatigue and decreases procedure time. Current mechanical catheter technologies have a number of disadvantages that can be significantly improved by utilizing EAP technology.

“The BRDG-SPAN project fits our corporate mission to create enabling technologies to improve the quality of living,” said Ralph Russo, co-founder, president, and CEO of SPS. “The NIH financing will enable us to speed the commercialisation of micro-steerable cardiac ablation and related catheters that will make life-saving medical procedures less expensive, less risky and more accessible.”

The grant has opened the door for EAP technology to be used in a number of other catheter procedures such as OB-GYN, GI and cranial applications, as well as enable advanced micro- steerability, reduced procedure times and automation capabilities in cardiac procedures. SPS is collaborating with Hershey Medical Center to develop a fully commercial demonstration of an advanced electric micro-steerable mapping and ablation catheter using its new class of proprietary EAP’s.