BioTime awarded a research grant for blood plasma volume expander

BioTime, Inc. has announced that it has been awarded a research grant by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for use in the development of its HetaCool® blood plasma volume expander following peer review. The grant will be used to fund a project entitled "Resuscitating Blood-Substituted Hypothermic Dogs" at the Texas Heart Institute in Houston under the guidance of Dr. George V. Letsou. Dr. Letsou is Associate Professor of Surgery and Director of the Heart Failure Center at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston, Texas. BioTime may receive up to $299,990 through the grant, including $149,994 during 2004 and -- subject to availability of funds and satisfactory progress on the project -- an additional $149,996 during 2005.

HetaCool is specifically designed for use at low temperatures. The goal of the BioTime research project is to use HetaCool to increase the time during which a patient may be maintained in hypothermic cardiac and circulatory arrest during surgery. In the research project, the body temperature of dogs will be lowered to reduce their metabolic rate and related need for oxygenating red blood cells, while HetaCool will be used to replace the circulating blood to prevent the blockage of small blood vessels caused by the "sludging" of blood at low temperatures.

During surgical procedures for the treatment of certain cardiovascular conditions such as large aneurysms, cardiovascular abnormalities and damaged blood vessels in the brain, surgeons must temporarily interrupt the flow of blood through the body. Interruption of blood flow can be maintained only for short periods of time at normal body temperatures because many critical organs, particularly the brain, are quickly damaged by the resultant loss of oxygen. As a result, certain surgical procedures are performed at low temperatures because lower body temperature helps to minimize the chance of damage to the patient's organs by reducing the patient's metabolic demands. Inducing hypothermia may also prove useful in resuscitative procedures for heart attack and stroke victims and in trauma care.

Surgeons are already using a variety of solutions in surgical procedures involving the arrest of brain and heart function at temperatures between 15o and 25oC. However, current products limit the degree to which surgeons can lower a patient's temperature and the amount of time the patient can be maintained at a low body temperature. As a result, surgeons face severe time constraints in performing surgical procedures requiring blood flow interruption, and those time limitations prevent surgeons from correcting certain cardiovascular abnormalities. We are trying to provide surgeons with products that will give them the additional time needed to perform complex surgical procedures that require cardiac and circulatory arrest. This research also may lead to uses of HetaCool in hypothermic emergency medical procedures to treat patients who have suffered cardiac arrest, stroke, or major traumatic injury.BioTime, headquartered in Berkeley, California develops blood plasma volume expanders, blood replacement solutions for hypothermic (low temperature) surgery, organ preservation solutions and technology for use in surgery, emergency trauma treatment, and other applications. Information about BioTime can be found on the web at www.biotimeinc.com.

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