Hawaii research firm
wins $4M bid

The military would use its artificial-tissue
technique to reattach limbs severed in war

The Defense Department has awarded a $4 million contract to a Hawaii company to research and develop artificial blood vessels that could allow doctors to reattach the severed limbs of soldiers wounded in battle, the company said yesterday.

The technology could also save the lives of patients needing heart surgery, according to the company.

"It's a recognition at a national level of the prominence and uniqueness of our technology," said Anton Krucky, the president of Honolulu-based Tissue Genesis Inc. "The inventions we have and the ability to be operating-room ready, we think uniquely places us to perform."

Doctors would use Tissue Genesis technology to build new blood vessels for wounded soldiers by coating Teflon with a patient's own cells. They could then use the specially built vascular tissue to reattach severed limbs. The patient's blood would flow through areas covered with his or her own cells, decreasing the chances the body would reject the foreign object, according to the company.

Doctors would need fewer than two hours to build the new vessels, brief enough for the procedure to be completed in an operating room, the company said.

Tissue Genesis expects to test the "TGI graft" in clinical trials next year. It would have immediate applications in places like Iraq, where frequent bombings have maimed thousands of U.S. troops and Iraqis.

Krucky said the synthetic vessels have already been tested on people in preclinical trials, but need further work so they can be built quickly and reliably.

TGI graft may also be used to help heart bypass surgery patients, who need new blood vessels to bypass arteries narrowed by the buildup of fatty substances and cholesterol.

Such patients now generally rely on transplanted vessels taken from their own legs, collarbone areas and wrists. But transferring these so-called harvested vessels can be painful, and patients who undergo multiple heart bypass surgeries can run out of blood vessels to use, Krucky said.

Each year, more than 60,000 heart bypass surgery patients do not have the option of harvesting alternative blood vessels from their own bodies, he said. "If they don't have an option, this could be very important for them."

Perfecting TGI graft for use in heart bypass surgery will take a couple more years, Krucky said. Founded in 2001, Tissue Genesis employs 25 people.

Tissue Genesis

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