I’m happy to inform you that a major patent on my bismuth thiols (BTs) has been granted.
After devoting most of my career to this pursuit, it feels good to be acknowledged, and to continue making strides in my old age. I’m no longer involved in the R&D, but I’m rooting for Microbion (www.microbioncorp.com) to find a niche for these drugs. With so many potential applications in medicine, dentistry, industry and agriculture, it should be just a matter of time. With this patent, which protects the technology for another 17 years, time is on our side.
Consider that biofilms make up some 95% of the biomass on this planet, believe it or not. Most of this slime is for the good. It helps build things up and break things down, depending on the integrity of the system. It’s part of the microbiome in your intestines and on your skin, to help you stay healthy in life and recycle you in death. It provides food and nutrients to many critters. It also helps build soil and form rock matter. No wonder it’s been around for billions of years.
The problem lies when a biofilm grows where you do not want it to, like in your urinary tract, sinuses or lungs. Any indwelling devices (catheters, replacement valves) will become slimed up quickly, and can become dangerous. People who incur 3rd-degree burns can die from an overwhelming biofilm infection. Your teeth will rot, if you don’t brush off the biofilm that forms on them daily. Pneumonia and cystic fibrosis are essentially biofilm diseases. Biofilms also creep into wounds and keep them from healing. Roughly 80% of all bacterial diseases involve biofilms.
And that’s just a small sampling. Biofilms also grow on surfaces, like on the bottom of ships, and on the machinery in food plants. They also rot a large percentage of plants and crops, especially in tropical climates. Biofilms clog the stems of cut flowers to make them wilt. They also promote rusting of metal, and the breakdown of cement and other structures. Again, biofilms are earth’s recyclers.
Amazingly, just a tiny amount of my BTs can stop a biofilm in its tracks. A quantity as small as one part per million (1 mg/L) can stop virtually any biofilm from forming, and there are many, many types of biofilms out there. To put it in perspective, one tiny grain of sand in a quart of liquid is all it takes. So, this is obviously a potent drug. However, at this tiny level, it is not about killing, but rather inhibiting the production of slime. Slime is what protects germs from antibiotics, antibodies, viruses and toxins, and also allows them to cling together in impenetrable masses. When you break that up, as the BTs uniquely do, you no longer have a problem.
We gave the exclusive license to (Microbion Biosciences) back in 2007, and I consulted for them until recently. They took my BT technology and refined it, to make it drug worthy. They are securing patent protection, procuring funds and conducting clinical trials to show BT safety and effectiveness. It’s taking a village to make this happen, as it should, because there are so many aspects to drug development. Let’s hope they get to the finish line soon with some application, before I’m too old to appreciate it.