News Article | May 11, 2017
Flash Physics is our daily pick of the latest need-to-know developments from the global physics community selected by Physics World's team of editors and reporters The quantum properties of molecular ions have been controlled by physicists in the US and Germany. Led by Chin-wen Chou of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the US, the researchers determined a molecular-ion's quantum state by transferring the information to an atomic ion. A calcium ion and calcium-hydride ion are first confined in an electromagnetic trap. The atomic ion is then laser cooled, which also slows the motion of the partner molecular ion. Although the molecular ion is now in its lowest-energy electronic and vibrational states, it still rotates randomly. A pulse of laser light is applied to the molecule at a frequency that targets only one, unique transition in its rotational spectrum. If the molecule does jump into the target state, the system remains motionless. But if it makes the transition, both ions start moving again because energy is returned to their shared motion. This movement can be detected by applying a laser pulse to the atomic ion that changes its internal state, causing it to scatter light that can be detected. Described in Nature, the method is an alternative to laser cooling and controlling molecules, which has proven very difficult to do. "Whatever trick you can play with atomic ions is now within reach with molecular ions," says Chou. "This is comparable to when scientists could first laser cool and trap atoms, opening the floodgates to applications in precision metrology and information processing. It's our dream to achieve all these things with molecules." The biophysicist Julia Goodfellow will be the next president of the UK's Royal Society of Biology (RSB). Currently vice chancellor of the University of Kent and president of Universities UK, Goodfellow did a PhD in biophysics at the Open University Research Unit before embarking on a career in biomolecular science at Birkbeck College, where she served as vice-master and head of the School of Crystallography. She has also served as chief executive of the UK's Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and chair of the British Science Association. Goodfellow will succeed the current RSB president Jean Thomas in May 2018 and will become the third president of the society since it was founded in 2009. "I look forward to working with the RSB to help strengthen the bioscience community they have successfully fostered, and ensure we are able to represent their views and priorities in the coming months and years," says Goodfellow. A hologram that switches between multiple images as the material used to generate it is stretched has been unveiled by Ritesh Agarwal and colleagues that the University of Pennsylvania in the US. The system is based on a metasurface, which is a flat, ultrathin material with nanometre-scale features. The team had previously shown that coherent light passing through such metasurfaces can produce colour holograms – 3D images created by the interference of light. Now, Agarwal and colleagues have created a metasurface by embedding gold nanorods in a stretchable film of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS). Using a computer simulation, the team worked-out the distribution of nanorods that would result in a sequence of different holograms as the film is stretched. In its relaxed state, a pentagon-shaped hologram forms 340 μm away from the film. As the material is stretched the hologram changes shape – changes first becoming a square and then a triangle. The team was also able to switch between a happy-face hologram and a sad face. The new technique could have applications in virtual reality, flat displays and optical communications and is described in ACS Nano.
News Article | May 10, 2017
As a postdoc studying marine biology at the University of Bristol, UK, Shelby Temple invented a device that assesses the health of human eyes. He describes his move out of research to commercialize the device. How did you create this tool? I was characterizing the ability of animals to see polarized light, and was curious about the human perception of polarization. So, using LCD screens, some customized components and the contents of my recycling bin, I invented a device to examine it. When I used the device to measure the threshold of human perception of polarized light, those measurements corresponded with the density of macular pigment in the eye. A low level correlates with poor vision and is a risk factor for age-related macular degeneration. What did you do next? With the support of the business incubator at the University of Bristol and programmes including Innovation to Commercialisation of University Research, I conducted market research and developed the device. I believed that my invention had potential for commercialization, so I left the incubator to launch a start-up company. The university owns the intellectual property and they gave me an exclusive global licence in exchange for equity and royalties. How did you transition out of your postdoc? I was able to ease away from lab commitments with funding that allowed me to take a four-month break while doing market research. I passed on a lot of my projects to colleagues, and although I am trying to finish off a few papers, it's really more of a hobby now. Are you pleased with your present career path? Yes. I felt like I was stagnating and was frustrated by the lack of opportunities in my home nation of Canada. Commercializing the device seemed like a great opportunity and could allow me to return to Canada in the future. How does your company run with no revenue? I won a Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council Enterprise Fellowship, which has paid my salary for the past year. We have a start-up grant from Innovate UK and just completed our first round of investments. What did your market research find? Most people, including optometrists, don't know what macular pigments are, so we'll need to educate them. I also learnt how the device would fit into optometrists' business models. Has it been difficult to move from research? The learning curve was sharp: I took numerous courses to learn about business planning and modelling, accounting, sales and marketing. It has taken me a long time to shift my thinking to making money — there is a lot of pressure to get the device to the point of sale as soon as possible. It's a fantastic amount of work, but I have also been having a great deal of fun. What are you doing now? We are conducting a more focused, large-scale study to compare our tool's results with results from the existing method for measuring macular-pigment density, so there is a big push to get the next prototype ready for trial. As technical officer, I am working on the manufacturing process and am currently operating out of my house. We hope that by late 2017, a more developed version of the device will be ready before we invest in large-scale manufacturing. My dream is for the device to be used in every optometrist's office, and maybe in the future by primary-care doctors. I envision it as a standard part of eye-health checks, a bit like a blood-pressure monitor. What is the best aspect of starting a business? Building a great team with key skills to complement my own. For instance, the chief operating officer has taken over some of the business planning, which allows me to focus on the science. And it's my company, so I run it with my own ethos. Why not have board meetings that start off with nipping to Devon to surf?
News Article | May 9, 2017
— Global Erythritol Market 2012- 2022 Report provides detailed analysis of market in 9 chapters with required tables and figures. Applications covered in this report are Beverage, Confectionery, Personal Care and Health Care. This report also provides key analysis for the geographical regions like Europe, North America, China, Japan & Korea. Companies like Cargill, Jungbunzlauer, Baolingbao Biology, Zibo Zhongshi Gerui Biotech, Zhucheng Dongxiao Biotechnology, Shandong Sanyuan Biotechnology and more are profiled in this report providing information on sale, price, sales regions, products and overview. Purchase a copy of this report at: https://www.themarketreports.com/report/buy-now/503259 Table of Contents: 1 Market Overview 1.1 Objectives of Research 1.2 Market Segment 2 Industry Chain 2.1 Industry Chain Structure 2.2 Upstream 2.3 Market 3 Environmental Analysis 3.1 Policy 3.2 Economic 3.3 Technology 3.4 Market Entry 4 Major Vendors 5 Market/Vendors Distribution 5.1 Regional Distribution 5.2 Product and Application 6 Regions Market 6.1 Global 6.2 Europe 6.3 North America 6.4 China 6.5 Japan & Korea 6.6 Trade 7 Forecast 7.1 Market Trends 7.2 Segment Forecast 8 Marketing Overview 8.1 Ex-factory Price 8.2 Buyer Price 8.3 Price Factors 8.4 Marketing Channel 9 Conclusion Inquire more about this report at: https://www.themarketreports.com/report/ask-your-query/503259 For more information, please visit https://www.themarketreports.com/report/global-erythritol-market-research-2011-2022
News Article | May 11, 2017
Scientists have demonstrated that a human protein known as valosin containing protein (VCP) is essential for replication of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV). The findings, published in PLOS Pathogens, identify VCP as a potential new treatment target. HCMV infects 30 to 100 percent of people worldwide, depending on socioeconomic status. While most remain symptom-free, HCMV can be dangerous or deadly for people with weakened immune systems or for babies infected before birth. Some HCMV treatments exist, but their benefits are limited, and scientists are investigating new ways to treat and prevent infection. To better understand how HCMV replicates during active infection, Yao-Tang Lin and colleagues at the University of Edinburgh, U.K., performed a search for human genes needed by the virus for replication. They found that reducing the expression of the VCP gene in HCMV-infected human cells significantly reduced viral replication in the cells. Additional experiments showed that, without VCP, HCMV is unable to express a critical gene known as IE2. This viral gene is known to be essential for replication and is thought to play a major role when the virus switches from symptom-free, dormant infection to active infection. Given the critical importance of VCP for HCMV replication, the scientists tested the effects of a chemical known to inhibit the activity of VCP. They found that the inhibitor, known as NMS-873, reduced HCMV replication and IE2 expression in infected cells. NMS-873 appeared to be ten times more potent than Ganciclovir, the most commonly used antiviral treatment for HCMV. Further research is needed to determine whether NMS-873 -- originally developed as a potential anti-cancer drug -- is safe and effective in humans. Nonetheless, these findings suggest that NMS-873 and other molecules designed to inhibit VCP could potentially serve as HCMV treatments, particularly in patients infected with HCMV strains that are resistant to existing drugs. "Human Cytomegalovirus infection is an important human disease," the authors further explain. "By gaining a better understanding of how the virus works, we can develop improved antiviral drugs. While more work is required, this study shows the potential of such approaches." In your coverage please use this URL to provide access to the freely available article in PLOS Pathogens: http://journals. Citation: Lin Y-T, Prendergast J, Grey F (2017) The host ubiquitin-dependent segregase VCP/p97 is required for the onset of human cytomegalovirus replication. PLoS Pathog 13(5): e1006329. https:/ Funding: This work was supported by funding from The Wellcome Trust (088308/z/09/z), the Institute Strategic Programme Grant Funding from the U.K. Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council [grant number BBS/E/D20241864] and the Medical Research Council, MR/N001796/1. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.
News Article | May 10, 2017
Nutriad, world leader in feed additive solutions for livestock and aquaculture, announced the appointment of Jeroen De Gussem as Marketing Director and Joke Van De Velde as Marketing Communications Manager. Operating out of the Dendermonde (Belgium) headquarters they will support Nutriad in its’ growth ambitions across geographies and species. Stated Nutriad CEO Erik Visser: “Over the past years Nutriad has significantly grown its’ market share. To ensure we keep on working closely with customers, suppliers and our own technical staff in bringing new concepts to market and reach producers across the world we constantly invest in people. Our marketing department will ensure that our commitment of being big enough to cover the world, yet small enough to care will be applied towards achieving growing customer intimacy.” Jeroen De Gussem holds a master degree in Biotechnology and Laboratory Animal Science. He will finish his MBA this year. Jeroen has extensive experience in animal health and nutrition and most recently was a partner in a company that provided independent research for the veterinary pharmaceutical and nutritional industry. Commented De Gussem: “I have always been intrigued by how science can be applied into workable solutions for producers. Joining Nutriad allows me to focus on just that. Many companies try to enter the feed additives market, but Nutriad truly stands out as their technical excellence has allowed them to introduce concepts that prove themselves in the most challenging circumstances.” Joke Van De Velde was trained as a Marketing and Communication specialist and has worked on brand and content communication in a variety of industries. NUTRIAD, a multinational feed additives producer headquartered in Belgium, delivers products and services to over 80 countries, supported by 4 application laboratories and 5 manufacturing facilities on 3 continents. Find out more at www.nutriad.com
News Article | May 11, 2017
Dayhuff Group, a premier IBM partner, Lighthouse Computer Services and North Carolina State University have partnered to present a webinar focused on the future of artificial intelligence in the pharmaceutical industry. Dayhuff Group has worked alongside IBM for over a decade implementing solutions that enhance the signal detection process and correct compliance oversights. Today, Dayhuff Group is leveraging the power of Artificial Intelligence within IBM Watson Explorer to exploit the information contained in structured and unstructured data, quality control reports, product impact assessments, clinical trials, ingredients and more. Dayhuff Group, Lighthouse and NCSU invite you to join the discussion and learn more as we edge closer to the future of the pharmaceutical industry and the quality and speed that AI can bring to the digital structure of each enterprise. The guest speaker, Dr. Michael Kowolenko, Director of the Institute of Next Generation Computing, is an Industry Fellow in the Center of Innovation Management Studies, and Research Professor in the Department of Computer Science at North Carolina State University. Before joining NCSU, Kowolenko was a senior executive in Wyeth’s Biotechnology and Vaccine Division. In this webinar, he will share pharmaceutical industry insights as well as thoughts on the future of pharma as IBM Watson Explorer becomes more relevant and necessary for industry growth. "Combine data with artificial intelligence in order to justify operation in a state of control." One of the many challenges faced by the pharmaceutical industry is to demonstrate compliance with the multitude of regulations that touch on all aspects of business. The ability to demonstrate control and to act proactively to address issues is the hallmark of a well-run organization that places patient safety first. Many systems have been employed by these companies to aggregate data. The fusion of both structured and unstructured data through Watson creates a valuable tool necessary to assess the wide array of information that is generated in the development and post market surveillance in order to remain compliant as required by the various regulatory agencies. Watch the live stream on May 23, 2017 from 11:00am EST - 12:00pm EST. http://www.dayhuffgroup.com/may23 Dayhuff Group is a premier IBM partner. Dayhuff Group’s industry solutions help solve today’s increasingly complex business challenges by providing deep expertise in the Artificial Intelligence of Watson Explorer for use in the pharmaceutical industry.
News Article | May 18, 2017
Long-term follow-up data indicate that the tumor resolution was enduring and, moreover, that the mortality rate in the SGX942 1.5 mg/kg treatment group was lower (p=0.08) than the placebo group over the 12 months following completion of CRT. These data further support the safety and tolerability of SGX942 in this patient population. Potential ancillary benefits of utilizing SGX942 for the treatment of oral mucositis include the reduction of infection, the accelerated tumor resolution and the decreased mortality rate. Soligenix recently announced that it has received US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance to advance the pivotal Phase 3 clinical trial and released the protocol study design for SGX942, following the completion of the Phase 2 follow-up visits late last year. The Phase 3 study utilizes the patient population at highest risk of severe oral mucositis as identified in the Phase 2 study (i.e., those receiving the most aggressive CRT). While the drug effect was 67% in the Phase 2 study, a much more conservative estimate was utilized in planning the Phase 3 study, yielding a study size of approximately 190 subjects. SGX942 will be administered in conjunction with the CRT, as a treatment for oral mucositis. "The long-term follow-up data further support the safety and tolerability of SGX942, consistent with the results from the previous Phase 1 study," stated Richard Straube, MD, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Soligenix. "The Phase 2 study also enabled a highly powered and efficient Phase 3 study to be designed, which will use duration of severe oral mucositis as the primary endpoint, while continuing to assess incidence of infection, tumor resolution status and survival as important safety endpoints. We look forward to starting the pivotal Phase 3 study this year." "The primary objective of the Phase 2 study was to demonstrate the safety and explore the efficacy of SGX942," stated Oreola Donini, PhD, Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of Soligenix. "The results from the follow-up evaluations indicate that SGX942 is safe and well tolerated and may have a number of additional benefits. The consistency between the clinical findings and the earlier nonclinical studies further demonstrates the applicability of dusquetide to a human clinical population in multiple indications, including reduction of infection. Accordingly, we will continue to explore expanding the IDR technology across additional indications, including antibiotic resistant and emerging infectious disease." The Phase 2 oral mucositis clinical study was partially funded with a grant from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research Small Business Innovation Research grant #1R43 DE024032-01 (Soligenix, Inc.). Dusquetide (the active ingredient in SGX942) is an IDR, a new class of short, synthetic peptides. It has a novel mechanism of action whereby it modulates the body's reaction to both injury and infection towards an anti-inflammatory and an anti-infective response. IDRs have no direct antibiotic activity but, by modulating the host's innate immune system responses, increase survival after infections caused by a broad range of bacterial Gram-negative and Gram-positive pathogens. It also accelerates resolution of tissue damage following exposure to a variety of agents including bacterial pathogens, trauma and chemo- and/or radiation therapy. Preclinical efficacy and safety has been demonstrated in numerous animal disease models including mucositis, colitis, melioidosis, macrophage activation syndrome (MAS) and other bacterial infections. Some of these preclinical findings have been published in an article entitled "A novel approach for emerging and antibiotic resistant infections: Innate defense regulators as an agnostic therapy," available at the following link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jbiotec.2016.03.032. SGX942 has demonstrated safety in a Phase 1 clinical study in 84 healthy human volunteers. Recently, SGX942 had positive results in an exploratory Phase 2 clinical study in 111 patients with oral mucositis due to CRT for HNC. Consistent with preclinical findings, SGX942 at a dose of 1.5 mg/kg demonstrated positive improvements in decreasing the duration of severe oral mucositis by 50% overall compared to the placebo group, from 18 days to 9 days (p=0.099). In patients at the highest risk of developing severe oral mucositis (i.e., those receiving concomitant cisplatin chemotherapy of 80-100 mg/m2 every third week), the reduction in the duration of severe oral mucositis was even more significant at 67% when treated with SGX942 1.5 mg/kg, from 30 days to 10 days (p=0.04). The p-values met the prospectively defined statistical threshold of p<0.1 in the study protocol. Additional observations included an improved tumor response to CRT at the one month follow-up visit, as well as decreases in mortality and infection rate. The study results are reviewed in "Dusquetide: A Novel Innate Defense Regulator Demonstrating a Significant and Consistent Reduction in the Duration of Oral Mucositis in Preclinical Data and a Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Phase 2 Clinical Study," published online in the Journal of Biotechnology and available at the following link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jbiotec.2016.10.010. Long-term (12 month) follow-up data further indicated the safety and tolerability of SGX942 treatment, with a sustained trend towards reduced mortality and increased tumor resolution in the 1.5 mg/kg SGX942 treatment group compared to the placebo group. Opioid pain medication use was also seen to decrease over the course of CRT in the 1.5 mg/kg SGX942 treatment group at the point of highest oral mucositis risk, while it increased in the placebo group. Detailed clinical results from the Phase 2 study, as well as a review of the pathogenesis of oral mucositis and the mechanism of action of SGX942, are discussed here. The long-term follow-up results from the Phase 2 study are reviewed in, "Dusquetide: Reduction in Oral Mucositis associated with Enduring Ancillary Benefits in Tumor Resolution and Decreased Mortality in Head and Neck Cancer Patients", published online in Biotechnology Reports and available at the following link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.btre.2017.05.002. The Phase 2 oral mucositis clinical study was partially funded with a grant from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research Small Business Innovation Research grant #1R43 DE024032-01 (Soligenix, Inc.). Drug products containing dusquetide have also received Fast Track Designations from the FDA for the treatment of oral mucositis as a result of radiation and/or chemotherapy treatment in HNC patients, and as an adjunctive therapy with other antibacterial drugs, for the treatment of melioidosis. Orphan Drug Designations for use of dusquetide in the treatment of MAS as well as for the treatment of acute radiation syndrome have also been granted. In addition, dusquetide has been granted Promising Innovative Medicine designation in the United Kingdom by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency for the treatment of severe oral mucositis in HNC patients receiving CRT. Dusquetide and related analogs have a strong intellectual property position, including composition of matter. Dusquetide was developed pursuant to discoveries made by Professors B. Brett Finlay, PhD and Robert Hancock, PhD of the University of British Columbia, Canada. Mucositis is the clinical term for damage done to the mucosa by anticancer therapies. It can occur in any mucosal region, but is most commonly associated with the mouth, followed by the small intestine. It is estimated, based upon review of historic published studies and reports and an interpolation of data on the incidence of mucositis, that mucositis affects approximately 500,000 people in the US per year and occurs in 40% of patients receiving chemotherapy. Mucositis can be severely debilitating and can lead to infection, sepsis, the need for parenteral nutrition and narcotic analgesia. The gastrointestinal damage causes severe diarrhea. These symptoms can limit the doses and duration of cancer treatment, leading to sub-optimal treatment outcomes. The mechanisms of mucositis have been extensively studied and have been recently linked to the interaction of chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy with the innate defense system. Bacterial infection of the ulcerative lesions is now regarded as a secondary consequence of dysregulated local inflammation triggered by therapy-induced cell death, rather than as the primary cause of the lesions. It is estimated, based upon review of historic published studies and reports and an interpolation of data on the incidence of oral mucositis, that oral mucositis in HNC is a subpopulation of approximately 90,000 patients in the US, with a comparable number in Europe. Oral mucositis almost always occurs in patients with HNC treated with CRT and is severe, causing inability to eat and/or drink, in >80% of patients. It is common (40-100% incidence) in patients undergoing high dose chemotherapy and hematopoietic cell transplantation, where the incidence and severity of oral mucositis depends greatly on the nature of the conditioning regimen used for myeloablation. Oral mucositis in HNC remains an area of unmet medical need where there are currently no approved drug therapies. Soligenix is a late-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing products to treat rare diseases where there is an unmet medical need. Our BioTherapeutics business segment is developing SGX301 as a novel photodynamic therapy utilizing safe visible light for the treatment of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, our first-in-class innate defense regulator (IDR) technology, dusquetide (SGX942) for the treatment of oral mucositis in head and neck cancer, and proprietary formulations of oral beclomethasone 17,21-dipropionate (BDP) for the prevention/treatment of gastrointestinal (GI) disorders characterized by severe inflammation including pediatric Crohn's disease (SGX203) and acute radiation enteritis (SGX201). Our Vaccines/BioDefense business segment includes active development programs for RiVax®, our ricin toxin vaccine candidate, OrbeShield®, our GI acute radiation syndrome therapeutic candidate and SGX943, our therapeutic candidate for antibiotic resistant and emerging infectious disease. The development of our vaccine programs incorporates the use of our proprietary heat stabilization platform technology, known as ThermoVax®. To date, this business segment has been supported with government grant and contract funding from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA). For further information regarding Soligenix, Inc., please visit the Company's website at www.soligenix.com. This press release may contain forward-looking statements that reflect Soligenix, Inc.'s current expectations about its future results, performance, prospects and opportunities, including but not limited to, potential market sizes, patient populations and clinical trial enrollment. Statements that are not historical facts, such as "anticipates," "estimates," "believes," "hopes," "intends," "plans," "expects," "goal," "may," "suggest," "will," "potential," or similar expressions, are forward-looking statements. These statements are subject to a number of risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results in future periods to differ materially from what is expressed in, or implied by, these statements. Soligenix cannot assure you that it will be able to successfully develop, achieve regulatory approval for or commercialize products based on its technologies, particularly in light of the significant uncertainty inherent in developing therapeutics and vaccines against bioterror threats, conducting preclinical and clinical trials of therapeutics and vaccines, obtaining regulatory approvals and manufacturing therapeutics and vaccines, that product development and commercialization efforts will not be reduced or discontinued due to difficulties or delays in clinical trials or due to lack of progress or positive results from research and development efforts, that it will be able to successfully obtain any further funding to support product development and commercialization efforts, including grants and awards, maintain its existing grants which are subject to performance requirements, enter into any biodefense procurement contracts with the U.S. Government or other countries, that it will be able to compete with larger and better financed competitors in the biotechnology industry, that changes in health care practice, third party reimbursement limitations and Federal and/or state health care reform initiatives will not negatively affect its business, or that the U.S. Congress may not pass any legislation that would provide additional funding for the Project BioShield program. In addition, there can be no assurance as to the timing or success of the Phase 3 clinical trial of SGX942 (dusquetide) as a treatment for oral mucositis in patients with head and neck cancer receiving chemoradiation therapy and the Phase 3 clinical trial of SGX301 (synthetic hypericin) for the treatment of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. These and other risk factors are described from time to time in filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including, but not limited to, Soligenix's reports on Forms 10-Q and 10-K. Unless required by law, Soligenix assumes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements as a result of new information or future events. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/soligenix-announces-publication-of-its-phase-2-long-term-follow-up-results-of-sgx942-for-the-treatment-of-oral-mucositis-in-head-and-neck-cancer-patients-300459736.html
News Article | May 22, 2017
Microbial biofilms--dense, sticky mats of bacteria that are hard to treat and can lead to dangerous infections--often form in medical equipment, such as flexible plastic tubing used in catheters or in tubes used to help patients breathe. By some estimates, more than 1 million people contract infections from medical devices in U.S. hospitals each year, many of which are due to biofilms. A study from The University of Texas at Austin suggests a possible new way to prevent such biofilms from forming, which would sharply reduce incidents of related hospital-borne infection. Vernita Gordon, an assistant professor of physics and senior author of the paper appearing today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, detected the key mechanism that triggers biofilms to form. She next envisions creating coatings for medical devices and other surfaces that would block the trigger and keep bacteria from clustering to form intractable biofilms. "It's important to prevent biofilms before they start," Gordon said. "It's much easier to wipe out free-floating bacteria than a biofilm." Certain patients are especially susceptible to biofilm related infections. People with cystic fibrosis, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease often develop serious and even life-threatening bacterial infections that are hard to treat, in large part because the bacteria--such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa--form biofilms that are resistant to the host's immune cells and to antibiotics. Earlier work had shown that before Pseudomonas bacteria form a biofilm, they have to sense that they are attached to a surface. But it wasn't clear what cues the bacteria sense. Now, according to the new study, the bacteria sense something called mechanical shear, which is a kind of stretching that happens when a bacterium is attached to a surface and the surrounding liquid is moving and/or it pulls itself along. So what is shear? Imagine you're in a river and you're trying to pull yourself along underwater by grabbing rocks on the bottom and pulling forward. Shear is the force that is stretching your body; it's what you feel in your arms and legs as you pull against the resistance of the water. You might not feel much shear if the water is still and you're moving slowly, or it might be high if the river is moving fast and you're going the opposite way. Let go of the rocks and just "go with the flow" of the river, and you won't feel any shear. Sensing shear tells Pseudomonas that it's no longer free-floating but attached to a surface and triggers it to start producing a biofilm. Gordon says the discovery paves the way for biomedical engineers to begin developing methods to stop bacteria from sensing shear. So far, most strategies being developed to prevent the formation of biofilms use one of two approaches: kill the bacteria outright or prevent them from attaching to the surface. Both those methods are problematic. Antimicrobials usually only work against certain types of bacteria under certain circumstances, and they can become ineffective if susceptible bacteria evolve resistance. It's also hard to develop a universal anti-stick surface because bacteria have many ways to attach to a surface. "What we suggest is, if they are responding to a mechanical cue, then you could make a third class of biofilm-preventing surface," Gordon said. "You could modulate the mechanics of the surface so they never get the signal that they are attached, and they never start making a biofilm." Gordon suggests that for maximum effectiveness, surfaces could be engineered with a combination of these three approaches. Because of inconsistent reporting and differences in analytical methods, it is difficult to measure exactly how many people in the U.S. each year acquire infections from biofilms forming on medical devices. Estimates range widely--from 185,000 infections (based on a 2014 CDC study) to 2.8 million (based on a 2007 study in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases estimating up to 4 million health-care acquired infections (HAI's) and a 2008 study in the journal Biotechnology and Bioengineering estimating up to 70 percent of HAI's are associated with medical implants). Gordon's co-authors are Christopher Rodesney, Brian Roman and Numa Dhamani at UT Austin; Benjamin Cooley at the University of Georgia (formerly a postdoc at UT Austin); and Ahmed Touhami at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Funding for this research was provided by The University of Texas at Austin and ExxonMobil.
News Article | May 22, 2017
Microbial biofilms—dense, sticky mats of bacteria that are hard to treat and can lead to dangerous infections—often form in medical equipment, such as flexible plastic tubing used in catheters or in tubes used to help patients breathe. By some estimates, more than 1 million people contract infections from medical devices in U.S. hospitals each year, many of which are due to biofilms. A study from The University of Texas at Austin suggests a possible new way to prevent such biofilms from forming, which would sharply reduce incidents of related hospital-borne infection. Vernita Gordon, an assistant professor of physics and senior author of the paper appearing today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, detected the key mechanism that triggers biofilms to form. She next envisions creating coatings for medical devices and other surfaces that would block the trigger and keep bacteria from clustering to form intractable biofilms. "It's important to prevent biofilms before they start," Gordon said. "It's much easier to wipe out free-floating bacteria than a biofilm." Certain patients are especially susceptible to biofilm related infections. People with cystic fibrosis, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease often develop serious and even life-threatening bacterial infections that are hard to treat, in large part because the bacteria—such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa—form biofilms that are resistant to the host's immune cells and to antibiotics. Earlier work had shown that before Pseudomonas bacteria form a biofilm, they have to sense that they are attached to a surface. But it wasn't clear what cues the bacteria sense. Now, according to the new study, the bacteria sense something called mechanical shear, which is a kind of stretching that happens when a bacterium is attached to a surface and the surrounding liquid is moving and/or it pulls itself along. So what is shear? Imagine you're in a river and you're trying to pull yourself along underwater by grabbing rocks on the bottom and pulling forward. Shear is the force that is stretching your body; it's what you feel in your arms and legs as you pull against the resistance of the water. You might not feel much shear if the water is still and you're moving slowly, or it might be high if the river is moving fast and you're going the opposite way. Let go of the rocks and just "go with the flow" of the river, and you won't feel any shear. Sensing shear tells Pseudomonas that it's no longer free-floating but attached to a surface and triggers it to start producing a biofilm. Gordon says the discovery paves the way for biomedical engineers to begin developing methods to stop bacteria from sensing shear. So far, most strategies being developed to prevent the formation of biofilms use one of two approaches: kill the bacteria outright or prevent them from attaching to the surface. Both those methods are problematic. Antimicrobials usually only work against certain types of bacteria under certain circumstances, and they can become ineffective if susceptible bacteria evolve resistance. It's also hard to develop a universal anti-stick surface because bacteria have many ways to attach to a surface. "What we suggest is, if they are responding to a mechanical cue, then you could make a third class of biofilm-preventing surface," Gordon said. "You could modulate the mechanics of the surface so they never get the signal that they are attached, and they never start making a biofilm." Gordon suggests that for maximum effectiveness, surfaces could be engineered with a combination of these three approaches. Because of inconsistent reporting and differences in analytical methods, it is difficult to measure exactly how many people in the U.S. each year acquire infections from biofilms forming on medical devices. Estimates range widely—from 185,000 infections (based on a 2014 CDC study) to 2.8 million (based on a 2007 study in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases estimating up to 4 million health-care acquired infections (HAI's) and a 2008 study in the journal Biotechnology and Bioengineering estimating up to 70 percent of HAI's are associated with medical implants). Explore further: Bacteria harness the lotus effect to protect themselves More information: Christopher A. Rodesney el al., "Mechanosensing of shear by Pseudomonas aeruginosa leads to increased levels of the cyclic-di-GMP signal initiating biofilm development," PNAS (2017). www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1703255114
News Article | May 25, 2017
DENVER--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Arlen Meyers, M.D., has joined BridgeHealth as its chief medical officer. BridgeHealth is a leader in making value-based healthcare accessible through high-quality, lower-cost, bundled surgical case rate benefit plans. “Dr. Meyers’ strong clinical expertise and working relationships in the medical community will enhance BridgeHealth’s delivery of high-quality, lower-cost surgical benefits to self-funded employers and their employees and dependents,” said Mark Stadler, BridgeHealth’s chief executive officer. “As chief medical officer, Dr. Meyers will guide us in defining quality care, adding surgical procedures to our benefits solution, conducting medical case reviews and charting the clinical course of our growth.” Meyers is president and chief executive officer of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs and professor emeritus of otolaryngology, dentistry and engineering at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. He has founded several medical device and digital health companies. Meyers has consulted companies, governments and universities worldwide on bio entrepreneurship, bioscience, healthcare, healthcare IT and medical travel. Meyers serves as associate editor of the Journal of Commercial Biotechnology and Technology Transfer and Entrepreneurship, and Editor-in-Chief of Medscape Reference: Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery. “All my activities are synergistic,” said Meyers. “They’re part of a larger effort to transform our country from ‘sick care’ to value-based healthcare, from provider-centered care to patient-centered care. I’m passionate about this, and BridgeHealth plays a positive, important role in this transformation.” BridgeHealth negotiates with centers of excellence – the nation’s top-performing surgical teams, according to an independent third-party ranking – for episode-of-care case rates. BridgeHealth bundles the charges for each of the most common surgeries into a single discounted price for self-funded employers. Employer customers save 20-40 percent on surgery costs. Employees and their dependents travel to the centers of excellence for the procedures. To encourage employees to use the BridgeHealth benefits, employer customers typically waive deductibles and coinsurance and pay for travel and accommodations. BridgeHealth’s care coordinators provide information and decision support to patients, relieving them of administrative hassle. Founded in 2007, BridgeHealth (www.bridgehealth.com) is a bundled surgical benefit management company that offers a suite of products for self-insured group health plans to improve quality and outcomes of surgery, reduce costs and positively affect the rate of unnecessary surgery. Through decision support, a high-quality narrow network, care coordination and other strategies, clients get real savings in cost and high-quality outcomes while providing an outstanding patient experience through a facilitated process. Clients achieve very quantifiable results for themselves and their employee/plan members in a manner that integrates with their full suite of health plan benefits. BridgeHealth is headquartered in Denver, Colo.