Mismatch between laboratory, animal and clinical testing
LifeTec has an unusual philosophy. “We believe that in the process from product development through the approval of a medical device, there is a mismatch between laboratory, animal and clinical testing,” explains Stijnen. “If you need to test the functioning of medical devices or implants in the human body, then we don't think it makes much sense to do so in an artificial environment with no resemblance to a human body. Unlike with a technical component used in a car engine, it is much more difficult to predict how medical devices will behave later on in a living human body. Not to mention the fact that different people can have completely different reactions to interventions. As a manufacturer, if you invest in the best possible design for a product, but then the first animal study produces disappointing results, you have to start all over again. That means additional costs and delays in market introduction. That's why we work with test environments that provide true-to-life simulations of the human body.”
Test environment 'Physioheart'
LifeTec also developed the "Physioheart" platform, a test environment with a beating pig's heart, a complete vessel system and flowing blood, which can be used to test the functioning of devices such as stents and heart valves or new surgical techniques. The system makes it possible to measure key parameters such as blood pressure, blood flow and expansion of the heart. Another benefit is that instead of real blood, a transparent fluid is used in order to film the functioning of the heart and the condition of the tissue. In addition to this, LifeTec also develops bioreactor systems where cells or tissues are kept in culture. This kind of bioreactor can be used for tests with living blood vessels or bone growth, for instance. Its main benefit is the ability to examine the condition of the tissue several weeks after the intervention. The findings from realistic tests of this kind are much more reliable, which accelerates product development. They also result in fewer animal studies.