Héctor Perea
2012, Spain
Creating implants with the patient's own cells
Biotechnology

Using magnetic fields and biomaterials to create implants with patient's own cells.

Cardiovascular diseases are the main cause of death worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). It affects both genders equally and more than 80 percent of cases occur in low- and middle-income countries. Therefore, one of the greatest challenges of modern medicine consists in improving the tolerance of vascular implants, which help extend the life of people with life-threatening vascular complications (such as the occlusion of a coronary artery).

To combat this problem, the industrial and mechanical engineer Héctor Perea has developed a new technology that uses biomaterials and magnetic fields to create implants with cells from the patient. This technology allows coating tubular implants with vascular cells “in a safe, swift, and efficient manner”, according to Perea, using magnetic fields. With this method, it is possible to cover the interior surface of a vascular prosthesis with a layer of the patient’s own cells prior to its implantation. These cells avoid the direct contact of circulating blood with the synthetic material, improving the biocompatibility and avoiding its rejection from the body.

These type of regenerative therapies or tissue engineering approaches, combine the therapeutic benefits of cells with the advantages of traditional, synthetic materials. Perea’s objective is to make his technology accessible to the field of vascular surgery, with the development and marketing of clinical applications for his patented technology. For this purpose, the young entrepeneur founded the medtech company Vascuzell Tecnología, only a few months ago,

The idea to establish a business arose from the development of a project that Hector Perea started during his research period at the Technical University of Munich (Germany). During that time, his proposal to use magnetic forces to position cells in a directed manner was “very well received” in this Center, that supported the feasibility study during his doctoral thesis, as he himself explains.

After his time as researcher, he pursued the technological development on his own, so that the technology could be commercialised as an enabling research tool to be used in laboratories and clinics. That is how the ‘endothelizer’ was born, that soon caught the eye of various hospitals and catalyzed the creation of Vascuzell.

The validation of magnetically-produced vascular implants on humans will be the definitive step to demonstrate the success of this novel technology. So far, Perea and his team have been able to develop a new patented product (the endothelizer) and to establish a company to commercialize it, which has won several awards both nationally (with the recognition as the best business idea of a Madrid Foundation and the best business idea from the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid) and internationally (with the BioRegions Prize to the best German patent in the biotechnology sector).