Blockages of the coronary arteries can lead to heart attacks. To ensure blood flow to the heart muscle, doctors insert tiny metal tubes, or stents, to widen the blood vessels.
However, the body’s immune response can cause scar tissue to grow over the stent. Scientists in Brandenburg are working on plastics with shape memory as a possible alternative material for stents. They take on a form that depends on the temperature in their surroundings. If they can also be degraded by the body they might be ideal for new kinds of stent and other medical applications.