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Columbia University and Ushio Inc. enter into Exclusive License and Research Agreements for Ultraviolet Disinfection Method to Reduce Microbial Infection
June 23, 2015
NEW YORK, NY, JUNE 23, 2015 -- Columbia University’s ultraviolet (UV) light technology has been licensed to USHIO Inc., a Tokyo-based developer, manufacturer, and marketer of light sources and instruments.
Despite major efforts to keep operating rooms sterile, surgical wound infections remain a serious and stubborn problem, killing more than 8,000 patients each year in the United States alone and accounting for $3 to $10 billion of annual health care costs. Simple, and effective tools are needed in the operating room to supplement hygiene, precaution, and antibiotics. More broadly, in health care facilities and beyond, tools are needed to disinfect both air and surfaces that may expose patients and others to health risks.
The UV light technology developed by Columbia University’s investigators fills this need. Columbia University’s David Brenner, PhD, and his team have developed a sterilization system that selectively kills bacteria and viruses without damaging human cells/tissues, permitting prolonged human exposure. Dr. Brenner is the Higgins Professor of Radiation Biophysics in Radiation Oncology and Director of the Center for Radiological Research at Columbia University Medical Center.
The method uses one or more wavelengths within a range that is far from UVC radiation (e.g., the range of about 200nm to about 230nm) that can be generated by excimer lamps - e.g., KrBr （207nm） and KrCl (222nm) lamps. Preliminary studies show that such usage of the specified radiation provides the anti-microbial advantages of conventional UV lamps, while drastically reducing biological damage in human cells, compared with conventional UV lamps. Within such UV wavelength range, including the use of these specific UV wavelengths, can penetrate and kill bacteria. But at the cellular level, they cannot reach the nucleus of human cells, and at the tissues level, they cannot reach the sensitive cells in the skin epidermis or the eye lens.
Potential applications for the technology include minimizing surgical-site bacterial infections, particularly from drug-resistant bacteria such as MRSA, and minimizing airborne and surface-based transmission of common viruses, such as H1N1, SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, and extremely dangerous bacteria and viruses, including Dengue and Ebola; management of chronic wound infection, which currently accounts for about 5 percent of all Medicaid and Medicare spending; and sanitary use in devices such as hand dryers.
Development and research related to this technology at Columbia University was made possible in part by funding and support from the Columbia-Coulter Translational Research Partnership and through private donations.
About Columbia University Medical Center
Columbia University Medical Center provides international leadership in basic, preclinical, and clinical research; medical and health sciences education; and patient care. Columbia University Medical Center is home to the largest medical research enterprise in New York City and State and one of the largest faculty medical practices in the Northeast. For more information, visit cumc.columbia.edu or columbiadoctors.org.
The Columbia-Coulter Translational Research Partnership provides select teams with funding and guidance to position promising biomedical technologies for licensing to commercial partners who will develop solutions to improve patient care and address underserved health care needs. The partnership is made possible by a generous grant from the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation and is led by the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, in collaboration with the Departments of Surgery, Orthopedic Surgery, and Radiology at Columbia University Medical Center and Columbia Technology Ventures.
Columbia University’s technology transfer office, Columbia Technology Ventures, manages Columbia’s intellectual property portfolio and serves as the university’s gateway for companies and entrepreneurs seeking novel technology solutions. Our core mission is to facilitate the transfer of inventions from academic research to outside organizations for the benefit of society on a local, national, and global basis. For more information, visit www.techventures.columbia.edu.
Established in 1964, USHIO INC. (TOKYO: 6925) is a leading manufacturer of light sources such as lamps, lasers, and LEDs, in a broad range from ultraviolet to visible to infrared rays, as well as optical equipment and cinema-related products that incorporate these light sources. It also makes products in the electronics field (such as semiconductors, flat panel displays and electronic components) and in the visual imaging field (including digital projectors and lighting). Many of these products enjoy dominant market shares. In recent years, USHIO has undertaken business in the life science area, such as the medical and the environmental fields. See http://www.ushio.co.jp/en/.
USHIO is the first company in the world to develop and practically apply excimer lamps, and has manufactured and distributed photo-cleaning products for use in the manufacturing processes of semiconductors and liquid crystal displays. Also, the company has recently started research on usage of excimer lamps for water processing and deodorization, and is now working on to extend application of far-ultraviolet light of excimer lamps. They are also developing health care-specialized UV light sources, including anti-bacterial and anti-viral products, for initial launch in the U.S., Europe, and Asia in the near future. Ushio Inc. is currently seeking a partner to integrate its lamps for disinfection-related devices and hospitals in which to conduct medical trials.