By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA
East Tennessee State University’s (ETSU) W. Andrew Clark has an interesting background. He spent 18 years at Eastman Chemical Company, focused on research and technical services, before joining the Johnson City-based institution, initially in the College of Business and Technology.
Today, Clark is Associate Dean of Research and Clinical Practice in ETSU’s College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences, a role that seems to fit his interests to a tee.
“My passion is nutrition,” Clark told us recently during an interview at ETSU’s Innovation Lab. “I like to solve problems.”
A Co-Inventor of AquADEKs, a vitamin supplement for patients with cystic fibrosis, the Nutritional Biochemist has many projects consuming his interests today – from something that goes by the code name of AED3 to a product he developed at his wife’s urging with the unusual name of Moondance Night Cream and even the GlutenShield product recently spotlighted on teknovation.biz.
Many of his research activities are centered in a company named RTD Nutraceuticals, LLC where his wife serves as Chief Executive Officer.
“Seventy percent of individuals in the world over the age of 50 have a deficiency or insufficiency of Vitamin D3 as indicated by their blood levels.” Clark explains, noting that exposure to the sun and a few animal-based foods –fish and fish oils, egg yolks, fortified milk, and beef liver – are the primary sources of Vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol.
Deficiency or insufficiency has been found to result in soft bones, skeletal deformities, increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment in older adults, severe asthma in children, and even cancer.
With American’s increased reluctance to have too much exposure to the sun and increased interest in full vegan diets, a Vitamin D3 supplement makes a good deal of sense.
Clark explains that the supplement, developed by an interdisciplinary team that he led, is designed to help increase the body’s absorption of Vitamin D3.
The team conducted a clinical trial that Clark said was “very successful. We substantially increased the level of Vitamin D3 in participants.” Yet, the group was unsuccessful on two occasions in securing grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The lack of success has only intensified their persistence, and the team is looking for new grant opportunities to prove the efficacy of the product to resolve insufficient vitamin D3 levels over the long-term
As far as Moondance Night Cream, it was developed at the request of Clark’s wife to counteract the effects of UV radiation on the skin.
“Most people who try Moondance Night Cream like the moisturizing and repair properties of the product,” he says. “We are not selling it yet. We are almost ready.”
There’s another product named Lavengel CB for which Clark has applied for a provisional patent.
“It reduces the pain from shingles for eight to 12 hours per application and assists in healing the lesion with reduced scar tissue,” he says. Other potential applications include treating eczema, tissue damage caused by radiation treatment for breast cancer, treatment of “hot spots” or lick granulomas in dogs, and anti-microbial applications. Clark has selected members of a Scientific Advisory Panel that will help him shepherd the development of this product.
“We are filing an IND with the FDA,” Clark says, referring to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and a process called the Investigational New Drug application. “I’m hopeful it will become a successful commercial product.”