SETI bioastro: Fw: Cornell News: drug-coated biomaterials

Date: Fri Dec 12 2003 - 07:35:29 PST

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    ----- Original Message -----
    Sent: Thursday, December 11, 2003 5:38 PM
    Subject: Cornell News: drug-coated biomaterials

    Cornell scientist's drug-coated biomaterials to prevent artery
    reblockage win $1.75 million in licensing payments

    FOR RELEASE: Dec. 11, 2003

    Contact: Susan S. Lang
    Office: 607-255-3613

    ITHACA, N.Y. -- Cornell University Professor C.C. Chu was browsing
    through Business Week in 1997 when he read about a cardiologist using
    radioactivity to reduce artery reblockage following angioplasty and
    stent surgery, a condition called restenosis. Chu called the
    cardiologist to say he had a better approach.

    Now, five years, four U.S. patents and $1.75 million license payments
    later, Chu has been proven right.

    He and researchers in his lab in the Department of Textiles and
    Apparel in the College of Human Ecology at Cornell have developed a
    group of biodegradable biomaterials that can deliver nitric oxide
    (NO) derivatives and other biologically active compounds.

    One is an amino acid- (or protein-) based, very elastic biomaterial
    that can coat stents to deliver NO derivatives to prevent the
    restenosis of an artery. Elasticity is critical since stents tend to
    contract and expand significantly. Another class of the patented and
    licensed biomaterials is star-shaped biodegradable polymers that also
    can be formulated into jellylike biodegradable materials called
    hydrogels to improve the delivery in the body of a wide range of
    bioactive compounds via three-dimensional porous network structures.

    "Biodegradable hydrogels also have potential for wound-care products
    and as substrates for tissue engineering to replace aged or diseased
    tissues or organs. They may even work for environmentally friendly
    diapers or for agricultural devices because of their very high water
    retention capability," says Chu, a fiber and biomedical materials
    scientist whose inventions have reaped a total of nine patents
    through the Cornell Research Foundation.

    Four of these patents were licensed to MediVas, a privately held San
    Diego-based company that developed new techniques for coating stents
    with Chu's biomaterials. The company recently sold the exclusive
    worldwide license to these new biomaterials to Guidant Corp. for an
    initial payment of $35 million, of which Cornell received $1.75
    million. One-fourth of the payment to Cornell went to the College of
    Human Ecology, the college's first patent-derived revenue. Additional
    payments are expected if the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
    approves the use of Chu's biomaterials.Among the many advantages of
    Chu's amino acid-based biodegradable biomaterials are their
    biocompatibility. They also are low in cost, are easily biodegraded
    and are versatile in biological and material properties so that their
    design can be film- and fiber-forming, or highly elastic. This allows
    them to be particularly promising carriers of a wide range of drugs
    and other bioactive substances. They also are designed to use
    enzymes, which allows Chu and others to create "self-degradable"
    polymers with programmable rates and duration. This makes them ideal
    for bioabsorbable surgical implants and controlled devices for drug
    delivery. In addition, when used for wound care, they provide
    nutritional value to local wound sites for facilitating faster

    Of the Chu group's new biomaterials, the amino acid-based polymers
    are the closest to becoming a clinical reality. Chu notes,
    "Restenosis occurs in as high as 30 to 45 percent of patients after
    balloon angioplasty procedures and placements of stents to open
    clogged arteries. The U.S. market size for stents is about $5 billion
    a year."

    To prevent restenosis, current treatments include stents coated with
    immunosuppressant drugs, cancer drugs or radioactive compounds.
    "Using NO derivatives allows us to use a biochemical that is
    naturally produced by the body for the cardiovascular, immune,
    reproductive and nervous systems," Chu points out. "Research shows
    that our new NO derivative-coupled biodegradable biomaterials have
    the same biological function as the NO produced by the body. That
    means that our approach may have great potential to open a new means
    to treat those diseases caused by the lack of NO."

    Researchers believe NO and NO derivatives can prevent restenosis by
    preventing the proliferation of smooth muscle cells, which typically
    block blood vessels after stent implantation. "As our biologically
    active biomaterials biodegrade, they release the NO derivative," Chu

    Among Chu's collaborators on various aspects of the research is Ramaz
    Katsarava of the Republic of Georgia. Katsarava worked with Chu
    through the Civilian Research and Development Foundation, which helps
    former Soviet Union weapons scientists to redirect their skills
    toward peaceful solutions. Other collaborators include Jack Freed,
    professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Cornell; M.D. Lang, a
    professor at East China University of Science and Technology, who did
    postdoctoral research in Chu's lab; and Keun-Ho Lee, Chu's former
    doctoral student.

    The research has been supported largely by MediVas and in part by the
    College of Human Ecology at Cornell.

    Related World Wide Web sites: The following sites provide
    additional information on this news release. Some might not be part
    of the Cornell University community, and Cornell has no control over
    their content or availability.

    o C.C. Chu:


    The web version of this release may be found at

    Cornell University News Service
    Surge 3
    Cornell University
    Ithaca, NY 14853

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