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U.S. patent granted to technology that uses nitric oxide gas embedded into polymers

August 26/2011

(PlasticsToday) -- 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. 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.

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