Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt (VP shunt)
Hydrocephalus, excess accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the brain, is caused by many pathological states like premature birth, traumatic brain injury, stroke, meningitis, and age. Chronically elevated intracranial pressure as a result of hydrocephalus damages brain tissue by stretching and compressing sensitive brain regions against the skull, leading to long-term neurological deficits in 80% of patients.
Today, the overwhelming majority of patients are treated using a shunt to drain excess cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from the cerebral ventricles, but a shocking 98% (40% in 1 year, 98% in 10 years) of these shunts fail.
41% of this failure is from tissue obstruction in the holes of the shunt’s ventricular catheter. The attachment of astrocytes and microglia on shunt surface are believed to be the first step of shunt obstruction mechanism.
FreeFlow has taken the challenge of improving shunt failure rate dramatically and has relentlessly worked for past 3 years in collaboration with Harris’s lab at Wayne State University and McAllister lab at WashU.
Our in vitro test data under physiologic flow conditions shows an order of magnitude reduction of glia cell attachment over common shunt catheters. We are currently validating this exciting result in vivo using a previously established hydrocephalic pig model.