A SOUTHAMPTON research team has been given £1.3m for a new trial that could improve the lives of cancer patients.

The funding from the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) has been awarded to Dr Ali Mosayyebi, a biomedical engineer, and his team in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Southampton.

The team has designed a new type of stent - thin, flexible tubes that hold ureters open - which it’s hoped could dramatically reduce urinary stent failures and improve the quality of life for patients.

Dr Mosayyebi is now working with the team from the NIHR Southampton Clinical Trials Unit (SCTU) to conduct a first-in-human clinical trial of this new device.

It is hoped it can pave the way for better treatments for these patients in the future for cancer patients and other people who need urinary stents.

The urinary system is complex which means it is difficult to repair when blocked with cancerous tumours and kidney stones.

If not addressed quickly, this can lead to severe pain and kidney failure.

Clinicians use small, temporary devices called stents to maintain urine drainage while a longer-term solution can be found. But despite the great advantages they offer, stents are not always successful.

Dr Mosayyebi, who led the development of this patented stent design during his PhD, said: “Our technology is able to prevent the accumulation of crystals which cause blockages and reduce bacterial build-up.

"In pre-clinical studies, we successfully showed the safety of this new design against live tissue and demonstrated an indication of reduced particle deposition on the stent surface.

"This new trial will continue our research in the hope of finding a solution to the current problems many patients experience with traditional stents.”

CASSETTE is a first-in-human clinical trial that will assess the safety, performance, and patient acceptability of the new stent design.

Working with the SCTU, alongside colleagues at University Hospital Southampton, University College London Hospital, and University College London, Dr Mosayyebi’s team will trial the patented design in two groups of patients; those with kidney stones who require short-term stents, and also in patients with abdominal and pelvic cancers that need a longer-term stent use.

The trial is currently in set-up and the team hope to open to patient recruitment in the first half of 2023.