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Nitric oxide embedded in polymers for antimicrobial devices

A technology that uses nitric oxide gas embedded into polymers as an antimicrobial to prevent hospital acquired infections has been granted a U.S. patent. Enox Biopharma Inc. (Vancouver, BC) announced that it received a notice of allowance from the U.S. Patent Office for its "Antimicrobial Gas-Releasing Ear Drainage Tubes." Enox calls the intellectual property a foundation patent for the company. Additional patent applications are under review in the U.S.

(Vancouver, BC) announced that it received a notice of allowance from the U.S. Patent Office for its "Antimicrobial Gas-Releasing Ear Drainage Tubes." Enox calls the intellectual property a foundation patent for the company. Additional patent applications are under review in the U.S. and other countries that would expand the use of antimicrobial gas releasing technology to virtually any polymer-based medical device.

Enox said nitric oxide is recognized as an ideal antimicrobial agent since it is highly effective against pathogens yet not affected by the drug resistance issues of excessive antibiotic use. Enox CEO, John Rewcastle, said in a release that nitric oxide emitting medical devices have a unique potential to reduce hospital acquired infections, which he called a global problem that costs "tens of billions of dollars annually," adding that the issuance of this patent "further ensures Enox is the only company that can create such devices."

Enox notes that the immune system uses nitric oxide to block microbial growth, with the compound also serving as an effective vasodilator that can accelerate wound healing. Enox's says its device technology is applicable to any indwelling polymer medical device including, but not limited to catheters, endotracheal tubes, and central venous catheters.

Enox funded a study that demonstrated that nitric oxide can be impregnated into urinary catheters and released slowly over two weeks, preventing the formation of biofilm and the establishment of microorganisms on the surface of catheters. Other studies have demonstrated that the compound kills many strains of bacteria in organisms as well as bacteria that commonly cause nosocomial pneumonia.

Initially, Enox said it will focus on endotracheal tubes and urinary catheters, but it will also seek strategic partners to license its technology at a pre-clinical stage for applications beyond those devices. The company believes that the manufacturing process of impregnating nitric oxide into medical devices will be inexpensive and easily integrated into existing production lines.

The patent, filed by David Greenberg and Yossef Av-Gay, describes a nitric oxide gas-releasing conduit that comprises a gas-permeable cured resin material configured for releasably sequestering therein gas, noting that the gas-permeable cured resin material is charged with nitric oxide gas. The patent also says the nitric oxide gas-releasing conduit could optionally be coated with an antimicrobial gas-releasing composition.

TAGS: Medical
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