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PAPAartis Project Launches

Innovative new research project to trial pioneering technique in aortic aneurysm repair to reduce risk of associated paraplegia.

An aortic aneurysm is an enlargement of the aorta (one of the main blood vessels of the body) which can be fatal if left untreated and allowed to rupture. Although successful treatment cures the disease, the risky procedure can result in paraplegia (paralysis of the legs) or even death due to the blood supply to the spinal cord being restricted. Many patients refuse treatment because of this risk.

More than a decade of dedicated research led by Professor Christian Etz at Leipzig University, Germany has resulted in a pioneering technique in the aneurysm repair procedure, where the body is stimulated to make a robust second blood supply to the spine before the repair is carried out, thereby reducing the likelihood of the blood supply being restricted during the procedure. This technique is termed ‘minimally invasive segmental artery coil embolization’ (MISACE). PAPAartis is an EU-funded research project to carry out a phase II clinical trial of this innovative new approach.

The PAPAartis clinical trial will be led by Prof. Etz and will be performed in 13 locations across Europe, including centres in Germany, Italy, France, UK, Sweden, the Netherlands and Poland. As well as investigating the impact of the MISACE procedure on post-operative paraplegia and mortality rates, the PAPAartis researchers will also evaluate the economic benefits of the new procedure. It is expected that a reduction in the rate of paraplegia will also create financial savings through lower health care costs, lower disability insurance payouts and reducing the loss of economic output through unemployment.

The researchers involved in the PAPA-ARTiS project met in Frankfurt on 28th February to launch this innovative clinical trial.

“PAPAartis will bring together experts in cardiology, vascular surgery and neurology to perform a trial of a cutting-edge technique which may revolutionise the treatment of aortic aneurysms, thereby improving the confidence of patients to take up the life-saving operation and reducing the burden to society of unnecessary healthcare costs” said Prof. Etz in Frankfurt.

The PAPAartis project will run for 60 months and has received €5.9M in funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

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