Electronically Activated Polymer (EAP) structures hold great potential for use in several medical applications, including implantable pumps and actuators, artificial muscles, microtools for intravascular intervention and soft prosthetics. The structures can be incorporated in very low-power electronics, providing precise control of force and movement in constrained and complex geometries. These designs enable the development of new minimally invasive strategies to treat acute cardiovascular disease, arteriovenous malformations (AVM) and cancer. Giner, Inc. will leverage its fabrication and manufacturing methods to substantially improve EAP mechanical performance and manufacturability with reductions in cost. The devices can operate as actuators with rapid, controlled force or as sensors for precise measurement of force and position. Polymer-based electromechanical transducers will be fabricated and demonstrated with improved electrode structures, tolerance to atmospheric exposure and improved flex response for biomimetic sensors and actuators. The research design entails implementation of proprietary manufacturing and processing methods and equipment to prepare EAP structures for a proof-of-concept component for use in a medical tool for thrombectomy in cases of acute ischemia. This project focuses on the development and demonstration of an effective EAP device for intravascular thrombectomy to be tested in animal models in Phase II.
The proposed research will develop manufacturing methods to make Electronically Activated Polymer (EAP) devices enabling the development of a tool for complete endovascular removal of blood clots without residual fragments released downstream or adherent material remaining on the vessel wall, as is often the case with current thrombectomy approaches. The proposed EAP will have increased force and displacement control over commercial devices presently in use. An ultrathin coating prevents biofouling, solvent loss and provides long flex cycle life.