EMERYVILLE, CA / ACCESSWIRE / December 23, 2014 / With the spirit of Christmas in mind, The National Necrotizing Fasciitis Foundation (NNFF) announced today that, in an agreement with NovaBay Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NYSE MKT: NBY), NovaBay and its partners around the world will offer NovaBay’s life- and limb-saving product, NeutroPhase, at no charge to any confirmed flesh-eating disease patient who needs it. It will also connect local doctors with physicians who have already successfully treated victims of the disease with NeutroPhase so that those experts can guide the use of the treatment.
“At NNFF, we are hearing from a growing number of patients and doctors who need a better treatment for this horrible disease,” explained NNFF co-founder Jacqueline Roemmele, herself a victim of the disease. “This ground-breaking and generous offer from NovaBay will enable us to get the new approach into as many hospitals and doctors’ offices as fast as possible-and to save many more lives and limbs.”
“Flesh-eating” disease, also known as Necrotizing Fasciitis (NF), is a rare disease in which bacteria get into the deeper layers of the skin through a simple cut or scrape. As the bacteria start to spread, the body tries to fight the infection, but toxins from the bacteria and the reaction of the body’s own immune system together eat away tissue.
The new treatment for NF was pioneered by Dr. John Crew, director of the Advanced Wound Care Center at Seton Medical Center in Daly City, CA. Dr. Crew has now overseen the use of NeutroPhase in the care of more than two dozen NF patients, such as Lori Madsen, Jared Hamilton and Michael Meillon. None of the patients he treated has died. None has lost a limb or any body part. Dr. Crew has also described why the treatment works in journals like WOUNDS, and been featured in newspaper articles. His groundbreaking work has earned him a nomination for the Lister Legacy Prize, an award presented by the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh to recognize contributions in controlling infections, as well as invitations to speak around the country.
Since Dr. Crew developed the treatment, other physicians have successfully used NeutroPhase to treat patients. These doctors include Dr. Anibal Gauto, founder of the Wound Care Center and current Medical Director of Inpatient Wound Care at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, CA, and Dr. Kerry Thibodeaux, M.D., Medical Director of the Wound Treatment Center at the Opelousas General Health System in Louisiana. Dr. Gauto also is a survivor of flesh-eating disease himself, having contracted an infection in his right shoulder in 2006 while operating on a patient. One of the many grateful patients of these two doctors is Fernando Davila, a casino security dispatcher in Coachella, CA.
Drs. Crew, Gauto, and Thibodeaux have made it their mission to educate others about this advance in treating flesh-eating disease. As part of that effort, they have agreed to help local doctors cope with new cases of the disease. “NovaBay or our partners will provide NeutroPhase free to anyone who wants it, anywhere on the planet, and also provide the telemedicine services of one of three experts 24/7. The cost to NovaBay is extremely low, while its impact on lives and families will be immense. Our shareholders should be proud of this important action. It is good charity and good business” said Dr. Ron Najafi, CEO of NovaBay.
“This is thrilling news,” said Roemmele, who co-founded NNFF in 1997. “For years, I could only offer emotional support to those struggling with this devastating disease. But now, we can ensure that any victim can get this new, life-saving treatment.”
Here’s how the plan will work. Once NNFF, NovaBay or any of the three physicians hear of a new victim of NF (or flesh-eating disease), Dr. Crew, Dr. Gauto or Dr. Thibodeaux will contact the doctor in charge of treatment and describe the approach. If the local physician agrees to try the method, NeutroPhase will be shipped to the doctor at no charge, and one of the experts will provide step-by-step guidance in person or over the phone.
In countries such as China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, NovaBay’s partner, Shanghai-based China Pioneer Pharma, will supply NeutroPhase. In Saudi Arabia, Eygpt and other Middle Eastern and North African Countries, the product will come from Cairo-based Biopharm. In Korea, NeutroPhase will ship from Shin Poong Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd, in Seoul. NovaBay will take care of the rest of the world. “Together with our partners we have global reach and the financial ability to provide NeutroPhase to everyone who can benefit,” said Dr. Najafi.
The key to the success of the new treatment is NeutroPhase’s ability, as proven in lab tests, to not only kill bacteria, but also to neutralize the toxins produced by bacteria and the immune system. In the current standard of care, doctors flood the body with heavy doses of intravenous antibiotics, while cutting away dead tissue. The problem is that the toxins typically keep eating away tissue, requiring more and more surgery. That’s why so many limbs end up being amputated, and why up to 20 percent of patients die even with aggressive treatment.
NeutroPhase contains Neutrox(TM), which is NovaBay’s pure, stable version of hypochlorous acid (HOCl). HOCl is a natural compound produced by white blood cells as a first defense against microbial invaders. When irrigated into the spreading wound (in combination with a common vacuum technique called negative pressure wound therapy), NeutroPhase successfully cleanses the wound of the “flesh-eating” disease components. “For the first time, we have real hope,” said Roemmele.
The new treatment is especially important now because of the growing threat of flesh-eating disease caused by bacteria that have become resistant to common antibiotics-so called methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA, said Roemmele. “The growing incidence of antibiotic resistance means even more demand for life-saving new treatments like NeutroPhase,” said Roemmele.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL NECROTIZING FASCIITIS FOUNDATION
The National Necrotizing Fasciitis Foundation (NNFF) is a 501c3 non-profit organization established in 1997 by two survivors of the disease. Since that time, NNFF has evolved to become the world’s leading resource for information regarding necrotizing fasciitis, as well as repository of cases reported worldwide. Its mission is to educate for public awareness regarding recognition of symptoms and preventative measures; to advocate research; to offer resources; and to offer support for those affected by necrotizing fasciitis, so that it may help save lives. The two founders of the organization, Jacqueline A. Roemmele and Donna Batdorff, have a second edition of their top-selling non-fiction book “Surviving the Flesh-eating Bacteria” being released in early 2015.
National Necrotizing Fasciitis Foundation
About NovaBay Pharmaceuticals, Inc.: Going Beyond Antibiotics(R)
NovaBay Pharmaceuticals is a biopharmaceutical company focusing on the development and commercialization of its non-antibiotic anti-infective products to address the unmet therapeutic needs of the global, topical anti-infective market with its two distinct product categories: Aganocide(R) compounds, led by auriclosene, and its FDA cleared Neutrox(TM) Family of Products: NeutroPhase(R)for wound care, Advanced i-Lid(TM) Cleanser for the eye care market, and CelleRx(TM) for the dermatology market.
NovaBay Contact Information:
Ron Najafi, Ph.D.
Chairman & CEO
NovaBay Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Click on this to contact Ron Najafi