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Physcial Sciences Division
Staff Awards & Honors

July 2010

e-RESS Team Earns Regional Industrial Innovation Award

Clem Yonker (not pictured)

Congratulations to Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's John Fulton, George Deverman, Dean Matson, and Clem Yonker on winning the American Chemical Society's Regional Industrial Innovation Award. The award celebrates innovations that have contributed to the good of society. The team was chosen for their e-RESS coating process which is being used by Micell Technologies to create vascular stents that are less likely to become blocked by tissue.

"I get very excited that this research could have an impact on the quality somebody's life," said Fulton, one of the lead researchers on this project.

In the e-RESS or Electro-static Rapid Expansion of Supercritical Solutions process, a tissue-inhibiting drug is dissolved in a supercritical fluid at high pressure and temperature. The solution is expanded through a small nozzle into a chamber at atmospheric pressure. The expansion produces nanoparticles of the polymer/drug coating.

The nanoparticles are electrostatically "harvested," free of the solvent, and precisely layered onto the stent. The drug slowly elutes, preventing tissue growth from re-blocking the artery. When the drug is gone, the underlying polymer slowly degrades. By the time the polymer is gone, the body has adjusted to the bare metal stent. Clinical trials are planned for the end of 2010.

The e-RESS process was born of research done by Fulton, Deverman, Matson, and Yonker for the U.S. Department of Energy's Basic Energy Sciences. They were conducting research to expand U.S. knowledge of supercritical fluids, such as carbon dioxide and water. This BES-funded research was instrumental in conceiving the e-RESS process.

The award was presented at the 65th Northwest Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society.

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