A team of physicians and researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and spinoff startup company Endomimetics has received a $2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop a bionanomatrix gel that could prevent stenosis and allow more  arteriovenous fistulas to mature. The UAB-developed substance mimics the tissue lining our blood vessels — endothelium.

“Our tests in the lab showed that this new coating promotes AVF maturation, and may have significant impact in the treatment of patients requiring dialysis,” said Ho-Wook Jun, PhD, biomedical engineering professor and co-founder of Endomimetics.

The phase two grant will support the development through further testing of the product. Research and development efforts were initiated last year after the team was awarded a phase one grant. This phase will last two years, and researchers are aiming to eventually get a phase three grant to pursue commercialization.

“It is our belief, which is being supported by our data, that the bionanomatrix gel has the potential to greatly increase the rate at which the AVFs are successfully created, which will dramatically reduce the cost and physical pain endured by the patient,” said Joseph Garner, PhD, CEO of Endomimetics and Assistant Professor in the School of Health Professions.