Officials of NanoBioMagnetics, Inc., (NBMI) have announced the issuance of its first patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The patent, titled “Method and Apparatus for Improving Hearing,” is based on the use of magnetically responsive nanoparticles implanted in the organs of the middle ear to drive tissue vibrations in the amplification of sound.
The technology was the first demonstration of the nanomechanical movement of tissue and operates in principle much like a typical commercial electromagnetic hearing aid. Development and validation was done during 2002 - 2004. The company now will move the technology through commercialization partnerships.
Statistics of the National Institutes of Health indicate sensorineural hearing loss affects approximately 28 million Americans. The technology covered by today’s patent has the potential to move hearing aid systems to smaller and totally implantable hearing devices, achieving more favorable patient economics performance and compliance.
Charles Seeney, CEO and Founder of NBMI, and co-inventor on the patent, said “miniaturization of hearing devices through ever smaller electronic components is part of an emerging trend based on applying nanotechnology to human healthcare needs.” A companion technology, based on the targeted delivery of bioactive materials to the inner ear, continues under development. The company also has in progress major research collaborations assessing the tumor-specific delivery of cancer therapeutics, research for which is ongoing at the M D Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
NBMI is a nanobiomaterials company, with core technology focused on designed structures of magnetically responsive nanoparticles to cause or drive a desired physiological event. Its healthcare technologies are developed and validated through collaborations with academic and industrial institutions. NBMI’s hearing amplification technology was developed in part through collaborations with the University of Oklahoma and the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School.
Today’s issuance is viewed as Oklahoma’s first nanotechnology-based patent for a healthcare application.