A Fantastic Vessel-Clearing Innovation on The vessel-clearing device, U.S. Patent No. 8,663,209
This article is a Contribution to this Open Access Online Scientific Journal and to our BioMed e-Series on 2/29/2016 by William Harrison Zurn, member of our Team, holder of multiple US Patents in the Medical Devices field.
This article will be REPUBLISHED with permission in a forthcoming e-Book by Leaders in Pharmaceutical Business Intelligence in our BioMed e-Series
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This article first appeared in the February 2016 issue of Inventors Digest magazine. Published by permission.
Permission SOURCE to re-publish
From: Cama McNamara <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 2/26/2016 08:39 (GMT-08:00)
To: William Zurn <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Re-Publish Article
Cardiac Patient’s Comment to the article:
Re-published with permission
Permission SOURCE to re-publish
On Feb 28, 2016, at 8:19 PM, William Zurn <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Aviva, the person with the reply gave his permission.
Please removed all his contact information.
It’s from a heart patient, who underwent a triple bypass in his 40s, and Dr. Mehmet Oz performed the surgery.
Received on LinkedIn on 02/19/2016:
“Hello, My name is XXXXX and I am a cardiovascular disease patient. I am a retired NY police officer and I read about your great work in Inventors Digest. I was 44yrs of age when I suffered a heart attack and had triple bypass surgery at Colunbia Prebyterian Hospital in NYC.Dr.Mehmet Oz was my surgeon. I am very active in a gym and exercise daily.I am now 64 yrs of age and God willing I will continue to be healthy. I was so interested in your work I had to write to you. God Bless you for your brilliant mind and the work you are doing. Please keep me in mind if in the future you get to a stage that heart arteries can actually me cleaned of any arterial plaque. I would be happy to undergo this procedure when you have perfected this.
[Name, Phone Number and e-mail address was omitted to maintain Patient’s Privacy.]
A FANTASTIC VESSEL-CLEARING INNOVATION
How the 1960s-era Science-Fiction Movie Fantastic Voyage Is Becoming a Reality
By Clifford Thornton
In 1966, the science-fiction movie Fantastic Voyage was far ahead of its time in special effects, technology and cinematography. What is most remarkable, though, is the foresight of the film’s creators and directors to capture an almost unimaginable concept at the time: nano technology and micro-electro mechanical systems, which are coming very close to reality today.
Previous science-fiction movies focused on intergalactic travel, but Fantastic Voyage delved into another kind of space—“inner space”—space inside the human body. In this case, the body is explored by a successful brain surgeon, scientists and other specialists aboard the customized submarine Proteus, which is designed to navigate through the human vascular system after it is shrunk to microscopic size, placed in a syringe and injected into the bloodstream.
The team’s mission is to save the life of the scientist who holds the secrets of the miniaturization technology. He suffers from a life-threatening blood clot in his brain, which has left him in a coma.
Once miniaturized, the submarine and its crew are inserted into the scientist’s carotid artery, where it begins its arduous journey. The nuclear-powered vessel’s location is tracked through the isotopes it emits, and the vessel’s status is monitored by control-and-command center personnel, who use radio to communicate with the crew.
To determine the shortest route through the scientist’s vessels to the clot, the team uses diagrams of the human anatomy as navigation charts. Once the submarine reaches the clot, the scientists aboard use a laser beam to pry the clot from the blocked vessel. The journey is quite exciting, as the crew can see what no human has previously seen: the wonders and workings of the inner human body at the microscopic level—in close proximity and vivid detail.
Lasers and MRIs
What do miniature submarines, a dying scientist and a surgical laser beam have to do with nanotechnology and MEMS? This imagined medical surgical capability, as far-fetched as it seemed at the time, is extremely close to becoming a reality. Inventor William Zurn has exercised his decades-long experience in technology development and engineering to design a now-patented vessel-clearing system that will accomplish, in a very similar fashion, what Proteus and its crew set out to do—eliminate blood clots—but in a more modern and realistic way.
Clotting of the blood, such as when an injury occurs and the bleeding stops, is a normal occurrence in the body. However, clotting can also cause irreparable bodily damage, or even death. Clots that pose a risk or threat to a patient can occur in the heart, veins or arteries.
Zurn was inspired to develop a patentable stent after researching the causes and effects of aneurysms. This led to a system of controlling, guiding and placing medical-implant modules within the principles of nuclear magnetic resonance. The vessel-clearing device is a huge leap in medical technology, transcending present methods of clearing atherosclerotic plaque and clots from human vessels and arteries. The vessel-clearing system will enable complete mapping of the cardiovascular system via magnetic resonance imaging, and precise locating and targeting of the occlusion.
Additionally, computer-assisted surgical methods of clearing clots and atherosclerotic plaque will be employed. The system computes the circulatory system path algorithm, which, in turn, allows for navigation to, around and from the source of the blockage. Finally, an algorithm for removing the blockage, which is programmed into the master computer, directs the motion of a biocompatible module apparatus, constructed by nanotechnology and/or semiconductor material, which then utilizes laser energy to remove the blockage. This is a much more effective, safe and efficient method than a traditional angioplasty procedure, which uses a balloon to compress the blockage or plaque against the artery walls. Recent studies have shown that after a few years, many patients must have an additional angioplasty procedure.
Nanotechnology Is a Giant Step
What exactly is the vessel-clearing system and how does it work? We can compare Proteus and its imagined capabilities to the vessel-clearing system. Within the system, a biocompatible module composed of multiple subsections, referred to as “pods,” are constructed by a combination of nanotechnology and integrated circuit technology. The size of these injectable pods is approximately 100 nanometers by 50 nanometers (a nanometer is equal to one-billionth of a meter). These pods are analogous to Proteus, and just as Proteus was introduced to the scientist’s body through a syringe and needle, the BCMs, or pods, will be inserted into patients in the same fashion.
In the same way that Proteus had radio communication between its crew and the control center, the vessel-clearing system will allow for similar communication between the pods and the control console, which is operated by a surgeon. As such, the pods have a communications unit, a radio frequency receiving and conversion section, and a laser-transmission section. The laser functions as the tool to untether and fragment the clot. The remaining residue is processed by the kidneys. Just as Proteus’ location in the scientist’s body was tracked by the control center via nuclear emissions, the vessel-clearing pods will be transmitted and closely and accurately tracked by nuclear resonance imaging. The collected information will be displayed on the control console.
In the film, Proteus and its crew have a certain time frame—60 minutes—in which the miniaturized state will remain active. Past that time, everyone and everything involved return to normal size. Zurn’s vessel-clearing system will not experience this problem. The vessel-clearing system and related procedure will be carried out in an efficient and timely manner with a focus on patient safety. Once, it is determined that all applicable and dangerous blockages have been cleared, the BCMs will be collected and extracted from the patient’s body in the same way in which they were introduced, via a syringe and needle.
If this sounds like another fantastic voyage, think again. The vessel-clearing device, U.S. Patent No. 8,663, 209, will be making its inaugural journey soon.
Clifford M. Thornton is a Certified Cardiovascular Technologist and a registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer. He is also a journalist in the medical device field, particularly in the fields of cardiology and nanotechnology.