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Tunable, Anti-inflammatory Immune Responsive Biomaterials for COVID-19 Treatment

August 6, 2020

Invention Summary

A platform of anti-inflammatory polymeric biomaterials that provides tunable immune responses via the modulation of macrophage metabolism.


Technology Overview

Macrophages (a type of white blood cell) produce nitric oxide (NO) through the metabolism of L-arginine (Arg) by nitric oxide synthase (NOS). When the biofunction of macrophages transition from pro-inflammatory to pro-healing, there is suppression of the NOS pathway and an increase in Arg metabolism through the arginase pathway.


Overproduction of NO causes an imbalance in the macrophage NOS/arginase metabolism pathways, causing pro-inflammatory signals. Topical supplements of NOS inhibitors (i.e. nitroarginine [NOArg] and derivatives) decrease NO but do not always result in the transition of macrophages from pro-inflammatory to pro-healing, due to dynamic NOS/arginase metabolism. Thus, topical supplements need to include NOArg and supplemental Arg to balance the macrophage NOS/arginase pathways.


Cornell researchers have developed a platform of tunable, anti-inflammatory NOArg-based polyester amide (NOArg-PEA) homopolymers and NOArg-Arg PEA copolymers that rebalance the macrophage NOS/arginase pathways. These biodegradable and biocompatible polymers do not activate the resting macrophage immune response. Studies in rat models show that treatments with the biomaterials cause an earlier resolution of the inflammation stage and transformation to the proliferative stage of healing. The biomaterials create an anti-inflammatory, pro-healing microenvironment with improved re-epithelialization, increased collagen deposition, and increased angiogenesis. These tunable, anti-inflammatory biomaterials can be used for inflammation-related COVID-19 treatments.


Potential Applications

  • Anti-inflammatory treatment and/or drug carrier for COVID-19 therapeutics


  • Biodegradable and biocompatible platform that does not activate the resting macrophage immune response
  • Creates an anti-inflammatory, pro-healing microenvironment with increased re-epithelialization, collagen deposition, and angiogenesis


  • US Provisional Patent Application
  • He M, & al. (2018). Biodegradable amino acid-based poly(ester amine) with tunable immunomodulating properties and their in vitro and in vivo wound healing studies in diabetic rats’ wounds. Acta Biomater. Online.

Licensing Contact

Martin Teschl
(607) 254-4454




  • Provisional filed