A new, minimally invasive procedure may soon stop aneurysms in their tracks.

Hebrew University’s technology transfer program, Yissum, recently applied for patents on the innovative laser technology that may ultimately help treat aneurysms before they become critical, potentially saving thousands of lives each year.

“Our purpose is to intervene at a stage where the aneurysm is not at the point where an emergency procedure is necessary,” said Dr. S. David Gertz of the Institute for Medical Research of The Hebrew University—Hadassah Medical School.

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Currently, Gertz explained, treatment for abdominal aortic aneurysm is focused on the critical stages of the disease. However recent advances in medical technology has made it possible to detect smaller, less developed aneurysms in the abdomen far earlier than before, allowing patients to be identified before disaster strikes.

“We’re seeing many more small aneurysms,” Gertz said. “The target population for our intervention would be those in whom a relatively small aneurysm has been identified but, after repeat examination and failure of medication, are predicted to most likely reach the stage of needing either open-abdomen surgical graft repair or stent implantation within two to three years.”

The new technology uses low-level lasers (LLL) and laparoscopy to slow or prohibit life-threatening aneurysms from forming by harnessing the ability of LLL’s to aid in combatting inflammation and wound healing.

Currently successfully tested in mice, Gertz’s lab is looking to large animal studies as the next step in making the procedure a reality. However, Gertz cautioned that it may be some time before the laser treatment is available at hospitals worldwide.

“We’re pretty far along experimentally, but there’s still quite a way to go for it to be applicable to the human interventional setting,” Gertz cautioned.

He added, that although still not ready for market, the new procedure promises to be an important, life-saving breakthrough when testing is complete.

“This technology offers a minimally invasive approach that has the potential for preventing patients from having to undergo surgical procedures … known to be associated with a high percentage of significant consequences,” Gertz pointed out. “That would be a major contribution.”

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