Fortunes will be made with disappearing bioresorbable stents, the first all-plastic medical device to treat coronary disease. Some are already hailing it as the fourth revolution in management of coronary artery disease.
In the 1970s, the first balloon angioplasty procedure on a coronary artery was performed. Also in the 1970s, coronary artery bypass graft surgery became an accepted treatment method. In 1987, the first coronary stent was used in humans. Later, drug-infused plastic was added to the metallic stent, creating a market that reached more than $5 billion a year.
The next multi-billion-dollar blockbuster for treatment of heart disease will be the bioresorbable vascular scaffold (BVS), which also restores blood flow through a diseased artery, but then dissolves into the body.
"The long-term benefits are huge. Since the stent will leave the body after two years after doing its work of clearing blockages, the patient will not have to take blood-thinning medicines lifelong," says Dr. Samin K. Sharma, who heads the Clinical & Interventional Cardiology department at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York.