(Philadelphia, PA) - Stent implantation, or using a tube-like scaffold to reopen a blocked artery, has proven an effective way to reestablish blood flow in coronary artery disease. Unfortunately, restenosis - the re-clogging of arteries following stent surgery - affects up to 20 percent of all patients.

In an effort to find a solution to restenosis, physicians at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center have performed studies in animals to help create a unique stent designed to deliver medications into the adjacent arterial wall. They are now participating in a human trial of this stent, designed to release a restenosis-preventing medication over time.

The SIRIUS Study is the first human trial of a coated stent: the Bx Velocity. The Bx Velocity functions like a normal stent, only it is covered with a medication called sirolimus, which has the potential to reduce the recurrence of symptoms after angioplasty in patients with blockages in their heart arteries.

"The stent releases the medication gradually over a period of 30 days - long enough to carry a patient through the critical time after the procedure when restenosis is likely to develop," said Robert L. Wilensky, MD, associate professor and director of Interventional Cardiology Research at the Penn Division of Cardiovascular Medicine Division.

The SIRIUS Study is a large, randomized, double-blinded clinical trial sponsored by Cordis, a Johnson & Johnson company. Cordis received approval on February 2, 2001 from the FDA to conduct the SIRIUS clinical trial.

Overall, the SIRIUS Study is designed to include 1,100 patients at 55 hospital centers across the United States. The clinical results of the study will be measured through on-going patient monitoring and review of angiographic follow-up. The study follows two pilot trials -totaling 45 patients - involving the Bx Velocity coated stent. In the pilot studies, there was no evidence of restenosis 12 months after the surgery or adverse events from the treatment.

"Using a stent to reopen a blocked cardiac artery is a well-established technique," said Wilensky, "and this device may solve stent implantation's biggest long-term problem."


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Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $5.3 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 18 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $373 million awarded in the 2015 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center -- which are recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report -- Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Chestnut Hill Hospital and Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2015, Penn Medicine provided $253.3 million to benefit our community.

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