STERIS announces research breakthrough in inactivating deadly prions

STERIS Corporation today announced that the company, in cooperation with leading independent prion researchers, has participated in research that indicates the effectiveness of several of the company’s proprietary cleaning and sterilization technologies in inactivating prions. Prions are proteins that have been associated with debilitating and fatal illnesses in both animals and humans. Until now, it has not been possible to inactivate prions without damaging contaminated surfaces. STERIS has introduced a new consumable product in its Healthcare segment, and is re-introducing an established consumable product in its Life Sciences segment to address prion concerns in both of its major industries.

This research has been published in the August 7, 2004 edition of The Lancet, an international journal of medical science and practice. Prions are extremely difficult to inactivate from the surfaces of surgical instruments or other items that may be contaminated and are believed to be the causative agent of Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (TSE), a group of fatal animal and human diseases that affect the central nervous system. Examples of such diseases in animals include scrapie and bovine spongiform encephalopathies (BSE), which is commonly known as Mad Cow Disease. Human variations include Creutzfeldt Jacob Disease (CJD) and variant Creutzfeldt Jacob Disease (vCJD).

Commenting on the research, Les C. Vinney, STERIS’s President and Chief Executive Officer, said, “We are pleased to have been involved in such critically important research and to have our collaborative research recognized by The Lancet. This research further confirms the value of our technology portfolio and our belief that we can leverage our capabilities to advance the science of sterilization and decontamination. STERIS continues to provide cutting edge innovations to combat the latest and toughest infection and decontamination challenges.

We believe there are other opportunities available to STERIS to commercialize additional new products to address the impact of TSE’s and we are continuing to pursue these opportunities.”

As a result of this research, the company’s Healthcare segment has introduced a new product in the United Kingdom (U.K.). The product is a cleansing solution designed to be added to the washing-disinfecting cycle of washers that decontaminate surgical instruments after use, and will be sold under the brand name Hamo 100 PID (Prion Inactivation Detergent). In addition, the Life Sciences segment is re-introducing a cleaning solution currently on the market that, as part of this research, has been proven to be effective against prions. The product, CIP 100, is a leading solution used to clean pharmaceutical and biotechnology production equipment. The company is in the process of exploring additional commercialization opportunities for this and other tested technologies.

In the process of its work with prions, STERIS also helped develop standardized testing and validation protocols that were used to confirm the validity of the test results. These validation protocols are being made available to test the effectiveness of various other decontamination methods against prions to advance research in these specialized areas.


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