Embolization is a minimally invasive therapy that provides stable and localized occlusion of arterial blood flow (transarterial embolization, TAE) with applications in rapidly growing markets of interventional radiology and cancer treatment. However, transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE) treatments have severe shortcomings due to chemotherapeutic toxicity, off-target embolization, and non-degradability.

University of Utah researchers have developed an innovative biopolymer, composed of silk-like elastin proteins that overcomes the above shortcomings by combining the best properties of both liquid and solid embolics for TACE. The SELP embolic polymer is liquid at room temperature permitting localized delivery through smaller diameter catheters that transitions in vivo to a solid providing stable occlusion. This liquid to solid embolic enables pinpoint embolization of tumor-feeding arteries and can also be used to deliver therapeutics.