Wilkes University

July

Wilkes University Seeks Patents For Medical Advancements Developed By Faculty

The research of two Wilkes University professors could dramatically improve diagnosis and treatment for wound care, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and other brain-related disorders. The University has filed patent applications for health care innovations developed by Ali Razavi, professor of mechanical engineering, and Abas Sabouni, assistant professor electrical engineering. The two separate applications are the first intellectual property right submissions for the 82-year-old University. 

  • Razavi has a specific background in materials engineering and chemistry. For more than three years he has worked with chemistry and microbiology professors and students in developing a new chemical compound with remarkable healing properties.  

This new substance could be a “game changer” in treating skin wounds for diabetics, burn victims and others, Razavi said. The compound has proven to be safe and effective in animal testing and can close wounds faster and with better outcomes.

 “The efficacy of the compound is remarkable; it encourages wounds to heal in a natural way,” he said.

Razavi wants to establish a company in Wilkes-Barre to commercialize the compound. “This kind of biotechnology spin-off from the university can encourage our graduates to stay in the local area,” he explains. 

  • Sabouni has a keen interest in applying electrical engineering principles to achieve advancements in healthcare. He has developed a non-invasive, real-time method for tracing the effects of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). The FDA-approved procedure has been used since 2008 but, until developments made by the Wilkes team, there has been no way to provide visual feedback on the effects of the treatment in real-time.

TMS uses intense pulsed magnetic fields to induce electrical currents in neuronal tissues, producing therapeutic effects in the brain. Sabouni’s work stimulates the brain’s neurons and captures high-resolution images of induced current in TMS. By using information provided by a patient’s MRI and a computer program simulation, this new technology can effectively pinpoint the area of the brain that needs to be stimulated—allowing for faster, less expensive treatment and a concentration of lower doses of current.

TMS therapy stimulates the part of the brain thought to be involved with mood regulation, so it can be helpful in treating depression and cases of post-traumatic stress disorder, for example. It is also used to measure the connection between the primary motor cortex and a muscle to evaluate damage from spinal cord injuries. Someday, it may prove beneficial in the treatment of a broad range of other neurological problems such as stroke and Parkinson’s disease.

“This transformative and integrative research will accelerate the understanding of neural and cognitive systems,” Sabouni said.

“These faculty accomplishments are noteworthy, because they show that even a small university can make a significant impact toward advancing technology and improving lives,” said Wilkes President Patrick F. Leahy. “We will continue to offer our students transformative educational experiences and opportunities to work with faculty in developing additional innovations to shape the world.”

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