For the estimated 500 million diabetics worldwide, minor scrapes and cuts can represent a serious threat. Poor oxygen delivery due to circulatory issues can limit the wound healing process and increase the risk of ulcers. Currently, there are limited option to prevent and treat these ulcers, and the standard of care include a 4-6 week period of monitoring for improvement before patients are referred to a specialist for more advanced treatments.
These treatments usually focus on delivering oxygen to the wound, stimulating the release of growth factors to promote healing. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is widely used, but has in some studies failed to produce significant improvements in wound size, in addition to targeting the entire body and being very costly. However, some studies have suggested that topical oxygen therapy can produce better results at a much lower cost, providing the basis of a potential new preventative medical device.
The Austin, Texas-based startup MedNoxa is developing a novel, over-the-counter oxygen-based bandage that could bring effective and affordable ulcer or wound-healing solutions to diabetic patients. The bandage, or device, is a flexible dressing that provides controllable and accurate delivery of oxygen directly to a wound to stimulate and accelerate healing. Hydrogen peroxide (H202) can be applied through an inlet in the dressing, which comes in contact and mixes with a catalyst, manganese (IV) dioxide (MnO2), over the wound to form oxygen. The oxygen diffuses into the wound while the H2O byproduct is released through an outlet. By adjusting the volume and flow rate of the hydrogen peroxide, the bandage can be customized to a specific wound profile, and can be used on everything from a cut, blister, surgical incision, to ulcers and burns.
Every year, close to 100,000 lower extremity amputations are performed in the US alone as a result of diabetic neuropathy caused foot ulcers, highlighting the limited solutions that address acute wounds before they become chronic ulcers. In addition, current treatments cost an average of $25,000 annually, and often show little to no improvement after 270 days of care. And hospital costs associated with amputations totaled over $8.3 billion. MedNoxa is developing an innovative technology that could significantly lower costs while accelerate healing. Their simple, over-the-counter solution mean that patient can start treatment from day 1, and not monitor the wound for over a month before being referred to a specialist. It is both convenient and affordable, not only improving patient care and outcome, but increasing access to care, potentially helping millions who currently have no viable treatment option.
MedNoxa was founded in 2016 and is a result of a project that began at the University of Texas at Austin as part of the McCombs Business School Master of Science in Technology Commercialization program, and the technology is licensed through Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization. The startup has been part of the Texas Venture Labs Accelerator, a University of Texas at Austin initiative to accelerate startups and help them take their innovations to market.