SynCardia Co-Founder Dr. Marvin Slepian Helps Develop Biodegradable Electronics that Vanish Inside the Body

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Findings on “Transient Electronics” Reported in Sept. 28 Cover Story of the Journal Science

SynCardia, Marvin Slepian, Total Artificial Heart, artificial heart

Marvin J. Slepian, MD, Professor of Medicine (Cardiology) and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Arizona, Co-founder, Chief Scientific Officer and Chairman of the Science Advisory Board for SynCardia Systems, Inc.

SynCardia Systems, Inc., manufacturer of the world’s first and only FDA, Health Canada and CE (Europe) approved Total Artificial Heart, announced today that Marvin J. Slepian, MD, the company’s co-founder, chief scientific officer and chairman of its Science Advisory Board, has helped develop a new class of small, high-performance electronics that are biodegradable and capable of dissolving completely in water or bodily fluids. The applications which appear most promising for this transient technology are medical implants, consumer electronics and environmental monitors.

“Concerning the medical application, many of the devices we implant into patients are only needed temporarily. Once the medical need for them has passed, biodegradable devices would disappear, without the permanent burden for the body,” said Dr. Slepian, Director of Interventional Cardiology and Professor of Medicine at the University of Arizona (UA) Sarver Heart Center with a joint appointment in the UA Department of Biomedical Engineering.

“We are thinking about marrying this technology with existing devices, for example the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart. Ideally, we’d like to be able to implant transient sensors along with the device - for example, pressure sensors that keep track of the blood pressure in the pulmonary artery or the aorta - for the first two weeks after surgery. This would help immensely with the management of such patients,” he said.

Researchers at the University of Illinois, in collaboration with Tufts University, the University of Arizona and Northwestern University, have already demonstrated several devices utilizing transient electronics. For example, an implantable system designed to monitor and prevent bacterial infection at surgical incisions has been successfully demonstrated in rats. The findings were reported in the cover story of the Sept. 28 issue of the journal Science.

Dr. Slepian has a long history of research and development with biodegradable biomaterials. In the late 1980s, he developed a process referred to as "Polymeric Endoluminal Paving and Sealing," which was the prototype for the first form of biodegradable stenting. Unlike conventional metal stents, which are used to keep blood vessels open after they are cleared of blockages, the biodegradable paving coats the inside of the blood vessel, similar in concept to a cast.

Watch video of transient electronics dissolving in water
Read the abstract published in Science
View the news release from The University of Arizona


About the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart

SynCardia Systems, Inc. (Tucson, AZ) is the privately-held manufacturer of the world's first and only FDA, Health Canada and CE approved Total Artificial Heart. Originally used as a permanent replacement heart, SynCardia's Total Artificial Heart is currently approved as a bridge to transplant for people dying from end-stage biventricular heart failure. There have been more than 1,000 implants of the Total Artificial Heart, accounting for more than 270 patient years of life.

Similar to a heart transplant, SynCardia's Total Artificial Heart replaces both failing heart ventricles and the four heart valves, eliminating the symptoms and source of end-stage biventricular failure. Unlike a donor heart, the Total Artificial Heart is immediately available at SynCardia Certified Centers. It is the only device that provides immediate, safe blood flow of up to 9.5 liters per minute through each ventricle. This high volume of safe blood flow helps speed the recovery of vital organs, helping make the patient a better transplant candidate.

SynCardia Wins Two Gold Stevies® at 2012 American Business Awards

On June 18, 2012, SynCardia was honored with two Gold Stevie® Awards at the 10th Annual American Business Awards. SynCardia won "Company of the Year – Health Products and Services" and "Most Innovative Company of the Year – up to 100 Employees." See the full list of SynCardia Awards & Recognition, which includes accolades from Forbes, Fast Company and more.

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