A leading heart expert at Queen Mary, University of London has been honoured for pioneering a host of breakthrough treatments for heart disease.
Professor Martin Rothman received the inaugural award for "outstanding contribution to innovation" at NHS Innovations London’s annual awards dinner last week. Presenting it, Olympic Gold Medallist Tessa Sanderson said: “This award goes to an outstanding innovator, who, by his own admission has said the roots of his success as a cardiologist and cardiac interventionist have been firmly laid in innovation. “He recognised early on the need to kiss a lot of frogs in order to find the princes of ideas, something which has pushed him further and kept him at the leading edge of research.” “He’s a great advocate of innovation, building a research inheritance to encourage and promote entrepreneurship as clinical activity.” Throughout his career Consultant Interventional Cardiologist and Professor of Interventional Cardiology, Rothman has been behind a number of key innovations and is currently the inventor on 25 patent families. In 1982 Professor Rothman was one of the first doctors in the UK to use angioplasty on heart attack patients, a now-common technique used to unblock arteries without the need for surgery. In 1987 he also introduced the coronary stent in the UK, a tiny scaffold-like device inserted into a patient’s artery to stop it from closing. At the time, both innovations were deemed novel and dangerous, yet both are now mainstream procedures. Professor Rothman said: “I was honoured and surprised to receive this award and would like to acknowledge NHS Innovations London for their continuing support and funding which has enabled me to develop some of my more recent inventions. “There are some exciting things in the pipeline in terms of innovative treatments for heart disease which kills one in three people in the UK.” One such product is Professor Rothman’s ascending thoracic aorta graft (ATAG) innovation. The ATAG is a prosthetic blood vessel that can be inserted into the body using a catheter to re-establish blood flow around a diseased or damaged vessel section. The new system aims to replace the current high-cost, high-risk procedure, open heart surgery, used to treat this condition. A prototype for use in animal trials is near completion. Professor Martin Rothman and his team also picked up an award from NHS Innovations London in 2008 for their work on another innovative device, Percutaneous Implantable Cardiac Support (PICS). The device, used to treat end stage heart failure, is small enough to be implanted without the need for major surgery. Development of this product continues and testing in animals is expected to begin in 2010.
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