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Monday, August 13, 2007

Eyecatchers-14 : Scientific Breakthrough in Oxygenation of Blood - Express News Service

A professor from the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-M) and a cardiothoracic surgeon from the Apollo Hospitals claimed to have come out with a pathbreaking concept to help treat acute and chronic lung failures.

After two years of joint research, A.Subrahmanyam of the Dept of Physics, IIT-M and consultant cardio-thoracic surgeon of the Apollo Hospitals, Dr.Paul Ramesh on Friday shared the details of their new method, ‘Photocatalytic oxygenation of human blood’ with the mediapersons.

In the acute and chronic lung diseases, often there is a need for oxygen to be supplied from external sources. Presently, ventilators or extracorporeal membrane oxygenator (ECMO) is used to provide oxygen to the patients. “However, ventilators cannot increase the amount of oxygen in tissues beyond a point. The ECMO too has many limitations,” explained Dr.Ramesh.

However, the duo have now developed an easier way to send oxygen to lungs which helps patients to make oxygen using sunlight.

Subrahmanyam explained, “Blood contains 80% of water which has oxygen and hydrogen. So, we thought of splitting the oxygen from it.” The oxygen thus formed could be sent to the blood and delivered to the tissues circumventing the lung.

The method goes like this – researchers have used a thin film technology and developed a nano porous layer of titanium-dioxide and indium tin oxide which is only 500 nano metre thick (thickness of a human hair) and used UV light to demonstrate effective oxygenation of human blood.

Soon, they will conduct tests on animals and later clinical trials. “The functional device should be ready in two years,” said Dr.Ramesh.

At present, the experiments were conducted in-vitro (laboratory) conditions. But the duo are planning to create a device which could be fixed inside the body of the patient.

According to Dr.Ramesh, this would help in treating chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases which has a prevalence of 11.6 and 8.77 per 1000 in men and women respectively.
(Courtesy: The New Indian Express, Madurai, August 12, 2007)

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