HomeDepartmentsTissueEngineering & BiomaterialsRespiratory Tissue EngineeringPulmoStent


Airway stenosis is a key problem in the palliative treatment of bronchial and tracheal cancer associated with significant morbidity and premature death. To adequately maintain an acceptable quality of life and reduce the number of hospitalizations in these cancer patients, stenosis has to be treated to avoid severe complications. Stenting is nowadays a proven therapy and can help to keep the airways open. However, current stents have major disadvantages leading to early failure either by rapid re-occlusion due to tumor ingrowth (metal stents) or massive mucus retention due to the interrupted mucociliary function (coated stents).

Figure 1: Schematic drawing of a cross-section of an implanted PulmoStent with all its features.

The aim of the EU-PulmoStent project, which was started in March 2012, is to develop a viable endobronchial stent (PulmoStent) for the treatment of broncho-tracheal cancer diseases. The concept is based on the combination of stent technologies with the principles of tissue engineering. As shown in figure 1, the PulmoStent is a multi-layered structure providing (1) a functional respiratory epithelium on the luminal side, which allows the maintenance of the mucociliary function in the stented area, in combination with (2) a mechanical separating layer of poly-urethane (PU) on the external side, enabling a local tumor suppression to avoid stent displacement and re-stenosis by a growing tumor.

The PulmoStent is a step beyond the state-of-the-art, evolving from a passive to a viable, functional and active implant tailored to the patient. It focuses on a clearly identified clinical need for the treatment of lung cancer. The combination of different biomaterials to a co-scaffold system for the bio-functionalization of the stent will lead to an improved performance of endobronchial stents and thereby to longer durability. The novel PulmoStent might improve the quality of life and increase the life expectancy of lung cancer patients, because of the local tumor suppression, the reduced mucus retention in the stented area, and herewith the reduced risk of life-threatening pneumonia.

The research on this topic receives funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013 under grant agreement n° NMP3-SL-2012-280915)



  • University Hospital of the RWTH Aachen University, Department of Internal Medicine I – Section for Pneumology, Germany
  • National University of Ireland, Mechanical & Biomedical Engineering, Galway, Ireland
  • RWTH Aachen, Institute for Textile Technology – Life Science and Smart Textiles, Germany
  • Utrecht University, Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences, The Netherlands
  •  Epithelix Sàrl, Geneva, Switzerland
  • 3T TextilTechnologieTransfer GmbH, Aachen, Germany
  • Vysera Biomedical Limited, Galway, Ireland
  • NonWoTecc Medical GmbH, Cologne, Germany

Project Leader

PhD Student, M. Sc.

Lena Thiebes

Te.: +49 (0) 241 80 85462