To really get an understanding of TheraDep, it helps to have an understanding of the problems that the company is solving. We know that introducing medications to medical devices can aid in healing and prevent infections. Unfortunately there have not been effective ways to bond these medications to the devices, or to apply them to wounds without using invasive methods. The two arms of TheraDep — TherGen and BioDep — address these concerns directly.
TherGen – Treating the Tissue
In the United States, hospital-acquired conditions are a significant problem. These conditions, which are readily preventable, are now causing the worst offenders to have their Medicare payments reduced. As a former floor nurse with an interest in wound care, I know first-hand how hard it can be to treat infected tissue, and to prevent infection in tissue that is likely to be compromised during a hospital stay. That’s why TheraGen spoke to me.
TherGen is TheraDep’s method of aerosolizing a medication (such as an antibiotic), and then applying it to the wound in a non-contact, pain-free manner. For patients with burns or early-stage pressure ulcers, this means an enhanced quality of life. For providers, it means preventing even worse infections, and promoting healing in the existing wound without invasive procedures.
What’s perhaps even more impressive is that the process used is antiseptic, although not sterilizing. It does kill off bacteria, biofilms, spores, and viruses, leading to a dramatic reduction in bacterial load which aids in cell proliferation. So not only can TheraDep help to keep infections at bay, its treatments can actually help patients heal faster as well.
BioDep – Treating the Device
The other side of the TheraDep forumula comes in treating the devices that physicians use. For example, antibiotic coatings that are bonded to hip implants can help to prevent the infections that lead to ineffective healing. This is especially important in patients who are undergoing revision surgery, where post-operative infection is an even more significant concern.
I asked TheraDep CEO Patrick Burt about the longevity of these antibiotics, and his take is favorable for the company’s appraoch. The FDA mandates rapid elution for antibiotics. Though the antibiotic itself does absorb rapidly, TheraDep can combine the deposit with other biologics to slow the rate if needed.
The FDA already has guidance in place for medicinal coatings, so TheraDep works under the existing rules instead of having to wait for a new guidance. The company is presently in phase two of a study through Clemson University for the Department of Defense. As part of an $858,000 grant, TheraDep has been implanting their antibiotic-coated plates and screws with a zero percent infection rate, as compared to a 43-percent infection rated for untreated implants.
For patients going through lower organ surgery, TheraDep will be able to assist by bonding clotting agents to the surgical tools. These procedures, where bleeding is a significant risk, are made safer for the patient when clotting agents can be introduced during the procedure from the very tools being used to perform it.
The Past and Future of TheraDep
Burt tells me that the company has already been producing microplates for researchers, working with labs and pharmaceutical companies. The technology, however, is more broad than they first realized.
The company is keeping a close eye on plasma medicine, which already has a strong presence in Europe. Argon plasma is used for electrosurgery, cauterizing, and cutting. At a lower power, and by using helium instead of argon, it becomes therapeutic. TheraDep already owns the intellectual property for having plasma as a delivery system for medications, and looks forward to the opportunities that the technology will provide.
The AngelMD Newsletter has the stories you need to know.
Image Credit: AngelMD