Utah Patent of the Month – July 2023

SINTX Technologies, Inc., a research and development company focused on advanced ceramic materials, has developed an antifungal composite using ceramics. The company’s recently patented innovation involves the creation of an antifungal composite that combines a thermoplastic polymer with silicon nitride powder, providing a potent defense against fungus growth. 

Fungal infections caused by Candida albicans (C. albicans) can be detrimental to human health, especially when immune defenses are compromised. Traditional dental prostheses, made from polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA), have been known to provide an ideal breeding ground for C. albicans colonization and proliferation. With limited effective antifungal drugs available and increasing drug resistance, there is an urgent need for alternative solutions.

The antifungal composite developed by SINTX Technologies addresses this pressing need. By incorporating silicone nitride powder into a biocompatible polymer, the composite effectively inhibits the growth of fungus. The concentration of silicon nitride powder within the composite is carefully calibrated to ensure maximum antifungal efficacy. In fact, the silicon nitride-loaded composite demonstrates superior candidacidal efficacy when compared to the thermoplastic polymer alone.

The antifungal composite not only prevents fungal growth but also subjects the fungus to nitrosative and osmotic stress, making it an even more formidable adversary. Additionally, when in contact with an aqueous environment, the composite creates an alkaline pH of approximately 8.4, further deterring fungal growth.

The applications of this antifungal composite extend beyond theoretical breakthroughs. SINTX Technologies envisions its implementation in various biocompatible devices, with a specific emphasis on dental prostheses. These devices, such as abiotic dentures, cements, and other dental prostheses, can now be equipped with the antifungal composite, offering patients a safer and more reliable solution that minimizes the risk of fungal infections.

The method of reducing or preventing fungal growth on a biocompatible device involves placing the device, integrated with the antifungal composite, in a patient and ensuring contact between the device and the fungus. This method is particularly relevant for yeast-related infections, including those caused by C. albicans. The antifungal composite’s enhanced candidacidal efficacy proves instrumental in combating the fungus, surpassing the capabilities of the thermoplastic polymer alone.

Are you developing new technology for an existing application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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