PTC has announced that researchers at the University of Tokyo, Graduate School of Medicine, pioneers in the development of artificial hearts, are using PTC Creo design software for the development of a Total Artificial Heart. The renowned institution has been involved in artificial heart research since 1959, and has been performing successful experimentation with animals since 1970. The advanced 3D modelling capabilities provided by PTC Creo are a key component in the research team’s goal to develop a fully implantable Total Artificial Heart by 2016.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that heart failure affects more than 20 million people worldwide with an additional two million new cases diagnosed annually. Approximately 5,000 heart transplants are performed worldwide each year. The average wait time for a heart transplant in Japan is reported to be 981 days. The increase in heart disease as well as the critical shortage of donor hearts is a driving force behind artificial heart research, as the development of an implantable artificial heart that completely replaces an existing human heart would be a medical breakthrough.
There are two types of artificial heart: the Total Artificial Heart that completely replaces a human heart and the Ventricular Assist Device that is implanted in the human body and complements the pumping capability of an existing heart. The University’s artificial heart development team is working on comprehensive research and development activities focusing on Total Artificial Hearts, and is using PTC Creo to develop a Total Artificial Heart with hydrodynamic levitating impeller, lubricated by the blood in the pump (hydrodynamic bearing), promising remarkable improvement in durability. In 2008, a goat with an implanted Total Artificial Heart survived 153 days, setting the survival record in Japan. The team also succeeded in keeping a goat alive for 532 days with a pneumatically-driven Total Artificial Heart that consists of a blood circulation pump and a power unit outside the body, which is still the longest worldwide survival record for Total Artificial Heart animals.
The University of Tokyo began using Pro/ENGINEER design software, the predecessor of PTC Creo, to create 3D models in its artificial heart design process in 2003 and upgraded to PTC Creo in 2012. The research team believed that a next-generation Total Artificial Heart would require a non-contact rotary pump and deployed the PTC CAD solution to share visual information in an effort to maximize device performance, enhance efficiency and durability, and design a pump that improves blood flow. PTC Creo 3D modelling capability also plays a critical role in component machining and in numerical fluid dynamics simulation. In October 2014, the team dramatically enhanced the stability of hydrodynamic bearing in their artificial heart model using PTC Creo, and successfully addressed some of the hemolytic and thrombotic issues they were facing. PTC Creo also supports daily collaboration across the team by enabling them to create and share easy-to-understand graphical materials with cross-sections of a 3D model and animations.
“PTC Creo has become an essential part of our development environment and a standard solution for the team in engineering an artificial heart,” said Takashi Isoyama, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, the University of Tokyo Graduate School of Medicine and a member of the artificial heart research and development team. PTC Creo has successfully supported the processes of designs and studies in addition to component machining, and enables our team to make significant advances as we reach our goals.”
“We’re excited to support the innovative research being done at the University of Tokyo,” said John Stuart, senior vice president, global education, PTC. “PTC believes the sustained success of our company, our customers and society depends upon empowering each generation to solve real-world challenges. The Total Artificial Heart research is an excellent example of how academic institutions are using PTC’s leading technology solutions to prepare their students to compete effectively in the workforce.”