The Challenge: Lung cancer patients often have to have an airway stent inserted post-surgery to maintain lung structure and keep the airways open. However, unlike cardiovascular stents, which are highly advanced, there has been little change to airway stent design since 1965. Depending on their design, current stents dislodge easily, are coughed up, or get integrated into the surrounding tissue making removal almost impossible. Furthermore, many lung cancer patients require chemotherapy which are considered to be invasive treatment method requiring intravenous administration of therapeutics that can cause wide-ranging side effects.
Revolutionising Airway Stents: Using a combination of image recognition and 3D-printing, Jesse Xu is developing a platform that can produce personalised airway stents that are biocompatible and easily installed. Not only will this improve the quality of life for those who need airway stenting but it will also significantly reduce the burden on the health care system. Current stents are thousands of dollars. With an integrated 3D-printing platform in a surgery, the cost per stent can be reduced to cents. Incorporation of local-acting therapeutics can also help prevent lung cancer relapse with reduced harmful side effects for patients.
About the Team Leaders: Dr Hui Xin Ong (Lecturer in Pharmacology, University of Sydney), Prof Paul Young (Head of Respiratory Technology, Woolcock), Dr Larissa Gomes dos Reis (Postdoctoral Researcher, Woolcock Institute) Dr Michael Byrom (Cardiothoracic Surgeon at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital), Dr Jonathan Williamson (Respiratory Physician at Liverpool Hospital) and Jesse Xu PhD Candidate, University of Sydney. Together they bring expertise to make this vision a reality.