SABER is developing a programmable antimicrobial bandage- a device utilizing blue light mainly in the wavelength range of 400-470nm (outside the range of UV light) for application on postoperative incisions and wound sites. It is designed to prevent bacterial contamination of the site, thus reducing the occurrence of SSIs. This antimicrobial light emitting bandage uses blue light’s proven abilities to inactivate a wide range of clinical pathogens regardless of their resistance to antibiotics, inactivate bacteria without developing resistance nor harming mammalian cells, to improve wound healing, and inactivate bacteria in the biofilm state [8-10]. The device is unique in its design and method of use because it is capable of automating disinfection, electronically sending performance information (providing improved accountability and real time information), is a thin transparent multilayer thermally managed LED sheet, and is a wearable device that does not interfere with standardized hospital infection prevention protocols. This device would be a paradigm shift in infection control and prevention because it brings antimicrobial blue light therapy into a compact wearable device that can be easily incorporated into infection prevention protocols.
SABER’s antimicrobial light emitting bandage will provide a cost- saving solution to hospitals through a reduction in occurrence of HAIs, a reduction in the risk of human error, and improved accountability, quality and workflow. Beyond providing a novel and superior automated antimicrobial therapy, we are designing our device and its method of use to meet the hospitals’ needs, leading to successful commercialization and adoption of the device.
SABER’s competitive advantage is its technology, designed to address the needs of hospital systems, nurses, infection preventionists, surgeons, and patients. SABER is in negotiations for an exclusive license of the blue light emitting bandage IP from Texas A&M University, as well as developing a strategic partnership with LiteSheet, an LED lighting solutions company. SABER and LiteSheet are currently in negotiations for an exclusive license on its patented technology for SABER for use in the medical field. LiteSheet is manufacturing SABER’s prototype silicone based bandage with blue LED array. As a commercial lighting manufacturer, LiteSheet has the capability to manufacture the finalized flexible LED array design. Additionally, SABER has developed relationships with the following healthcare systems interested in performing clinical trials and aiding in the implementation of our device into their infection prevention protocol: Memorial Hermann, Baylor Scott & White Health, Baylor College of Medicine, CHI, Texas Health Resources, UT Health and the University of Texas affiliated Hospitals, and the Texas Back Institute.
The Centers for Disease Control praise the advances infection control practices, including improved operating room ventilation, sterilization methods, barriers, surgical technique, and availability of antimicrobial prophylaxis, however, Surgical Site Infections (SSI) remain a substantial cause of morbidity, prolonged hospitalization, and death. There are over 16 million surgical procedures performed in acute care hospitals in the United States, 2-3% result in a SSI, costing the hospitals and the healthcare system over $10 billion annually[1-4]. SSIs cost from $24,000 to over $100,000 per infection, have extended hospitalizations and a 3% mortality rate [1,5]. The vast majority of these infections are preventable; however, increasing bacterial resistance, biofilm persistence, and human error contribute to the occurrence of these infections.
The increasing prevalence of antibiotic resistance in pathogenic bacteria has created a need for alternative antimicrobial therapies. Antibiotics are expensive, have significant side effects, and their overuse is a well-known contributor to an increasing antibiotic resistance. An increasing number of SSIs are attributable to antibiotic-resistant pathogens like methicillin- resistant S. aureus (MRSA). The most common source of pathogens responsible for SSIs originate from the patient’s endogenous flora, and Staphylococcus aureus, coagulase-negative staphylococci, Escherichia coli are the most common organisms causing SSIs. Pathogens present in the environment make their way to surgical sites through the air or through contact, and can proliferate, leading to an infection. Most microorganisms in the environment grow as biofilms, to protect themselves, and they are typically resistant to antibiotic therapy.
Hospitals are in an arms race to prevent infections acquired from bacterial contamination causing SSIs, because they are the largest annual cost of HAIs, and hospitals are not reimbursed for treatment of HAIs. Over 400,000 SSIs occur each year in the US which amount to unacceptable patient outcomes and annual hospital expenditures of over $10 billion. This annual revenue is lost by hospitals that fail to meet infection control benchmarks. Changes in reimbursement due to the Affordable Care Act and the Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program (HAC) have pushed the financial burden of HAIs onto hospitals. Hospitals are no longer reimbursed for the cost to treat these HAIs and are penalized for HAIs by a reduction in hospital-wide payment from the Medicare and Medicaid. The shift in financial responsibility has made hospitals solely responsible for the cost to treat these infections. These financial incentives led hospitals to seek solutions to reduce the occurrence of HAIs, thus creating a market opportunity for innovative solutions in infection prevention.
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