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Metabolic Prosthesis for Treating Ischemic Diseases

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

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PDF Document PublicationID 200501658.pdf (555 KB)

Technology Marketing SummaryORNL researchers have developed a new approach for treating ischemic diseases that will deliver oxygen directly to affected tissues by electrolysis of body fluids. Numerous treatments currently exist or have been proposed for treating ischemic tissues, but most are invasive, involve chemicals, and/or have undesirable side effects. The ORNL metabolic prosthesis addresses most of these concerns.DescriptionWhile experiments with the metabolic prosthesis have been directed toward treating diabetic retinopathy and similar retinal problems, the device can be used to supply oxygen to ischemic tissues in other parts of the body, for example transplanted organs and tissues, or in the treatment of peripheral artery disease. However, the ORNL metabolic prosthesis is especially suited for the eye, which is sensitive to chemicals and invasive treatments. Whereas most treatments for ischemia of the eye address ameliorating damage after it has occurred, the metabolic prosthesis is designed to delay or completely suppress the onset of diabetic retinopathy by supplying oxygen directly to the retina and surrounding tissue before debilitating symptoms appear.

The metabolic prosthesis consists of an electrochemical system for production of oxygen by electrolysis of tissue fluids combined with state-of-the-art sensors to monitor fluid properties such as pH and oxygen content. The device is designed to be implanted and operated in fluid-containing biological tissue in or adjacent to ischemic tissue. Power will be supplied either directly or wirelessly, depending on the location of the ischemic tissue, from typical pacemaker-type power sources. Chlorine production and pH control can be achieved through a patented pulsed electrochemical technique.
  • Safer than introduction of chemicals, including steroids, into biological tissues
  • Substitutes one treatment for numerous invasive treatments
  • Less complicated than many of the current procedures (e.g., laser treatments and/or vitrectomy in diabetic retinopathy)
  • Safer than hyperbaric oxygen treatment regimes
  • Reduces the potential for damage following reperfusion
  • Minimizes side effects compared to other treatment procedures
Applications and Industries
  • Treatment/prevention of diabetic retinopathy
  • Prevention of retinal blindness resulting from other vascular diseases
  • Treatment of peripheral artery and other ischemic diseases
  • Oxygenation of transplanted tissues and organs
More InformationElias Greenbaum, Mark S. Humayun , and Yu-Chong Tai. Method and Apparatus for Treating Ischemic Diseases, International Patent WO 2008/091559 A1, published on 31 July 2008.Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Patent 8,209,024
Method and apparatus for treating ischemic diseases
The present invention relates to the treatment of ischemic diseases, and more particularly, to treatment of diabetic retinopathy and ischemia of the retinal and choroidal tissues. The treatment, which will work in vitrectomized eyes as well as non-vitrectomized eyes, is based on selective and fractional electrolysis of the vitreous humor to produce oxygen and optionally active chlorine while simultaneously controlling pH. Oxygen or active chlorine can suppress or reverse the onset of diabetic retinopathy, other retinovascular diseases, and choroidal neovascularization.
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
UT-B ID 200501658PrototypeAvailable07/11/201207/11/2012

Contact ORNL About This Technology

To: Jennifer Tonzello Caldwell<>