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The Sticking Point

Written by Sallyann Price / November 15, 2023

UW-developed medical adhesive product wins prestigious commercialization award

PhD students test ThermoTape medical adhesive

UW students in Seibel's lab try out ThermoTape

Eric Seibel, professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Washington, has developed a medical adhesive designed to detach from the skin more easily than standard solutions, reducing the risk of complication and further injury. He was inspired by his young son’s early experiences with hospital IVs and sensitive skin.

Seibel’s team recently completed a successful first clinical trial, led by PhD student Shawn Swanson, demonstrating the safety and effectiveness of ThermoTape for short-term wear (the results were published in the October 2023 issue of the Journal of Wound Care). The project has also been selected for the prestigious CoMotion-Murdock Trust Commercialization Initiation Award to continue its journey toward commercialization.

ThermoTape was selected out of 16 proposals from UW teams to receive CoMotion’s recommendation to the selection committee of the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust. The award supports critical innovations, developed at a select group of major research universities in the Pacific Northwest, on their path to market, covering $150,000 in direct costs.

Standard medical tapes generally have either too little or too much adhesion, both of which make nurses’ jobs and patients’ experiences more difficult, particularly with children and the elderly. Many medical settings use tape that’s too weak, which can loosen tubing or dislodge medical equipment like an IV. ThermoTape offers strong hold and uses a heat pack, like a hand warmer, to reduce stickiness when it’s time to detach.

ThermoTape has also benefited from a CoMotion Innovation Gap Fund award, participation in I-Corps training, mentorship opportunities, and CoMotion’s patent advising team, with additional support from WE-REACH, UW’s Institute of Translational Health Sciences, and the National Science Foundation.