UTHSC professor Julio Palmaz to be inducted into National Inventors Hall of Fame


World-renowned inventor Julio Palmaz, M.D., professor of radiology at The Health Science Center, is slated for induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. The announcement was made this morning in Washington, D.C. The induction will be held May 5-6 in Akron, Ohio.

The revolutionary Palmaz® stent is listed as one of the “10 Patents That Changed the World” (as cited in the August 2002 issue of IP Worldwide magazine). The stent is a tiny wire-mesh, spring-loaded tube threaded through a blood vessel with a balloon catheter (the procedure is called angioplasty). After balloon deflation and removal, the stent remains as a permanent scaffold to keep the vessel open.

“As a practicing surgeon, I have seen firsthand the impact of Dr. Palmaz’s invention in the operating room as well as in the scientific community,” said Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., president of the Health Science Center. “The UT Health Science Center and South Texas are so fortunate to have such a distinguished physician scientist as Dr. Palmaz.”

Dr. Palmaz gained a U.S. patent on the stent in April 1988. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the stent for use in peripheral vascular arteries in 1990 and for use in coronary arteries in 1994. Stents are now used in 2 million patients annually to repair clogged arteries near the heart and elsewhere in the body. The stent has been on display at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Palmaz recently was named Ashbel Smith Professor at the Health Science Center. The professorship is named for Ashbel Smith, M.D., pioneering Texas physician who was the first chairman of The University of Texas Board of Regents (1881-1886).

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