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Gel Heads Overseas

Media Release 9 August 1999

"Significant sales" are being negotiated in the United States of a seaweed-based anti-inflammatory gel that has been developed by a small Hutt Valley laboratory.

"The product is based on seaweed," says Ian Miller, of Carina Chemical Laboratories Ltd.

"What makes it different from others is the delivery agent. The seaweed agent binds the anti-inflammatory to the skin, and then drives the stuff [the fat-soluble anti-inflammatory agent] into the skin."

The research is an investment of the Public Good Science Fund, Dr Miller developed the commercially made gel for medical purposes such as skin conditions, and reducing swelling in sports injuries.

It will be distributed through pharmacies, supermarkets, health and sports shops, "and in Australia through vet shops - apparently this stuff is good for horses' legs," Dr Miller says.

It can also be used on cows' teats, which crack.

The manufactured products use materials (polysaccharides) extracted from seaweed. Part of the research has entailed chemically modifying seaweed structure and finding new uses for it.

Dr Miller has been helped in his programme by Drs Richard Furneaux and Ruth Falshaw, of Industrial Research Ltd, and Dr John Blunt, of the University of Canterbury.

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