NanoDynamics Secures Contract to Develop Nanotechnology Based Infection Resistant Driveline Coatings for Ventricular Assist Devices

NanoDynamics Inc. announced that its subsidiary ND Life Sciences received a six-month, $100,000 Phase I SBIR contract from the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI).  Based in Pittsburgh, ND Life Sciences develops nanomaterials and nano-enabled technologies specifically for applications in biotechnology and medicine.  The contract, which took effect this September, will support NanoDynamics’ joint efforts with the University of Pittsburgh to address the critical issue of infection associated with ventricular assist devices (VADs), and specifically the drivelines of these devices.

The University of Pittsburgh and ND Life Sciences will use this SBIR funding to speed the development of nanotechnology-based infection-resistant driveline coatings.  This work will also be directly applicable to other widely used medical device implants such as shunts and catheters.

“With cardiovascular disease as the leading cause of death in the U.S., it has been estimated that between 15,000 and 50,000 patients, including children, could benefit annually from mechanical circulatory support devices including total artificial heart implants and VADs,” said Dr. Harvey Borovetz, professor and chair, department of bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh.  “To achieve improved clinical outcomes with these devices, a viable and proven antimicrobial solution is needed for entry point components such as drivelines, as entry point areas are often a locus for patient infection.”

“The majority of intracorporeal device infections are caused by biofilm forming bacteria and fungi, which severely limits the antibiotic arsenal available to treat them,” said Dr. Alan Russell, director of McGowan Institute of Regenerative Medicine and university professor of surgery at the University of Pittsburgh.  “With limited success in the reduction of device associated infections, the most often-used therapy to treat an infection is outright removal of the device.”

Work funded by the SBIR contract will investigate the ability of coatings with anti-infective nanosilver to increase biocompatibility and inhibit bacteria adhesion on the surfaces of indwelling medical devices.

“The antimicrobial activity of silver in its ionic form has been well-known for centuries,” explained Dr. Alan Rae, vice president of NanoDynamics’ strategic business unit, ND Innovations.  “In fact, of all metal ions, silver exhibits the highest toxicity for microorganisms without being a threat to healthy mammalian cells.  In addition, nano-scale silver has uniform distribution capabilities along with a large surface area to ensure the release of effective concentrations of silver to combat bacteria.”

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