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Medical Devices and Implants

Our ability to fabricate medical devices and implants using the proprietary methods developed at WBI has enabled the company to pursue basic biomedical research in a variety of fields. Shown below is a device which converts the force of an electrically stimulated muscle, a natural endogenous power source, to operate an assist pump contained within the device. The latissimus dorsi muscle from the upper back is surgically mobilized and wrapped around the implant. After a period of electrical conditioning using a device similar to a cardiac pacemaker, the muscle becomes capable of working continuously. It is then triggered to contract in synchrony with the heart to assist cardiac function. Unlike any other form of mechanical cardiac assistance, this device requires no source of external power. In addition, since it uses only the patient's own tissues, no immune system suppression is needed as with a cardiac transplant.

The muscle wrapped device is seen below before it is placed within the chest cavity. If successful, this approach provides an alternative to both cardiac transplantation or the use of externally powered devices, and it offers major advantages in terms of quality of life. This NIH funded program utilizes many of the core technologies which have been developed at the company to solve a series of complex problems. While it is a research phase effort at this point, the potential for this approach is significant.







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