Based on an “elegant idea” in Nanotechnology, eLux Medical is positioned to help melt fat with a technology that could outperform traditional liposuction. The new approach employs nanotechnology to remove body fat with greater efficiency and less risk.
Nanoengineer Adah Almutairi, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences & NanoEngineering at UC San Diego, came up with the concept on the eve of a 2011 vacation to Cancun, Mexico while musing, as she later told Chemical & Engineering News, “If only I could melt this fat so I could wear a bathing suit tomorrow.”
After consulting with her brother, Khalid Almutairi, M.D., a plastic surgeon who teaches at the University of Nevada School of Medicine, she devised a technique called NanoLipo that uses gold nanoparticles to literally melt fat away. Instead of scraping out solid fat as liposuction does, the Almutairis set out to inject nanorods of gold into fatty tissue, zap the gold with an external common infrared laser, and siphon off the newly liquified fat.
“As the laser passes over the target area, the nanorods heat up and melt the fat, but they don’t disrupt the blood vessels or connective tissues,” explained Douglas Van Oort, a biotech innovation leader who is on the eLux Board of Directors. “The melted fat can be suctioned off or otherwise disposed of. So it’s a very elegant idea. We like to say that this will remove twice as much fat in half the time. It’s quicker for the physician and less invasive for the patient.”
In 2013, liposuction was the most common surgical cosmetic procedure in the U.S., according to the American Society of Cosmetic Plastic Surgery, bringing in about $1 billion. But there are limits to the amount of fat that can be scraped out without leaving skin that looks lumpy or dented. And liposuction poses surgical risks, including damage to nearby connective nerves and tissues. NanoLipo uses temperatures high enough to melt fat but not high enough to affect the surrounding environment.
“Many liposuction procedures are not satisfactory,” said VanOort, “and corrective procedures or ‘rework’ often has to be performed. Our NanoLipo product represents an improvement in quality, in cost savings, and in the time required to perform the procedure. And it’s less invasive. There is clearly a demand for this, especially given the current obesity problem.”
Almutairi and her team at the UC San Diego Nanomedicine and Engineering Center, where she is Director, began testing NanoLipo on two fatty substances that are major culprits in the obesity epidemic: bacon and butter. Promising results with these kitchen compounds were replicated in Pig animal models. With efficacy established, eLux is raising funds to finance clinical trials, which are on track to be completed in 2016. A couple of patents have been submitted, and leading clinical investigators have been recruited from around the country.
“We believe it will be reviewed by the FDA as a ‘consumable device’ so that part of the regulatory approval process may be accelerated,” said VanOort. “A lot of potential investors have asked, ‘Can I be part of the trial?’”
eLux Medical, Inc.
ELUX 10601-G Tierrasanta Blvd. #338 • San Diego, CA. 92124
Tel: (760) 745-0855
John Lyon – CEO
Douglas Van Oort – Board Member, Chairman of the Board, CEO of NeoGenomics
Adah Almutairi, Ph.D
Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Materials Science and Engineering,
Director, Center for Nanomedicine and Engineering