Advanced Cardiovascular Systems of Santa Clara, Calif., was granted a US Patent (8,303,642) on November 6, 2012 for Metal Injection Moulded (MIM) stent tubing having drug eluting capabilities. The intravascular MIM stents incorporate expandable ring elements and connectors in longitudinal/circumferential channels, which are coated using a polymer-plus-drug coating or which are loaded with microreservoirs of a drug, such as an anti-cancer drug to act as a functional drug delivery vehicle.
Powders used to produce the MIM stents are cited as stainless steel, nitinol, and cobalt-chromium, and to aid in stent visibility the powder may include an element or alloy sufficiently radiopaque for x-ray imaging such as during magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Advanced Cardiovascular Systems shows a video of the functioning of such a MIM drug eluting stent on its website where the MIM stent tube is inserted into a blood vessel to restore blood flow to the heart. The stent tube eventually becomes part of the blood vessel through the overgrowth of the MIM tube with cells.