Lavengel® was built upon the firm foundation of good science, and good science does not come to be without much meticulousness, patience, perseverance, honesty, and of course, a constant sense of curiosity. The study of Dr. Andy Clark's fragrant gel began in 2010 like any other science experiment: with a question and a hypothesis. Today, Lavengel® is protected under U.S. Patent #10,912,759, and the research on this wonderful concoction continues and will prevail into the future.
The Patent: Lavengel Vs. Staphylococcus
This section will very briefly highlight a few significant steps and findings regarding the research that are featured in the U.S. patent, "Topical Gel Compositions for the Treatment of Staphylococcal Infections." To see the full patent documentation, click here.
Some of the findings are seen in research done by Honors and graduate students, guided and overseen by Dr. Clark and other doctorate-holding colleagues in the Honors College at East Tennessee State University.
Once it was found that Lavengel® was effective against a variety of different skin issues, Dr. Clark needed to know why this was. He sought to find how the gel interacted with microorganisms that are commonly found on the surface of the skin and within skin wounds, so a trial was devised to test the ability of Lavengel® to inhibit these organisms, beginning with a diluted 4% concentration.
Microorganisms included a panel of Gram positive bacteria, Gram negative bacteria, and fungi. These microorganisms were inoculated (~1,000,000 - 10,000,000 cells/ml) in a control LB broth or LB broth with 4% gel, incubated overnight at room temperature, and serially diluted and plated on LB agar. Colony forming units (CFUs) were counted at 24-48 hours growth. As shown in the graph above, Lavengel® exhibits varying degrees of inhibition across the panel, and shows particular enhanced efficacy against Staphylococcus aureus.
Lavengel Vs Staph Aureus
The ability to inhibit Staphylococcus so effectively (and at such a low concentration) is extremely significant, as this bacteria is the most common to cause infection in the skin. Therefore, Staph aureus was selected for further study and testing. The next trial shown features S. aureus against a higher 8% concentration of Lavengel®.
The bacteria were inoculated (~1,000,000 - 10,000,000 cells/ml) in a control LB broth or LB broth with 8% gel, incubated overnight at 37ºC, and serially diluted and plated on LB agar. At time points of 0, 2, 4, and 6 hours post-inoculation, an aliquot was taken, serially diluted, and plated on LB agar plates. CFUs were counted at 24-48 hours growth. As seen above, Lavengel® has an immediate inhibitory effect on S. aureus.
Fluorescent Microscopy - 10% Lavengel
Another method to assess the viability of Staph aureus with Lavengel® is via a fluorescent dye assay. This Live/Dead assay has two fluorescent dyes: SYTO9 and Propidium Iodine (PI). SYTO9 stains all cells (shown as green); PI only stains dead cells (shown as red).
A control of S. aureus alone and an experimental culture of S. aureus + 10% Lavengel® were inoculated at 1,000,000 cells/ml and incubated at 37°C for 2 hours. Cultures were stained per protocol and examined under 40x magnification. Based on the photos, the 10% Lavengel® did not necessarily create more dead cells, but it greatly inhibited the bacteria's growth.
Lavengel Vs MRSA
If Lavengel® proved this effective against Staph aureus, a next logical step would be to test it against its methicillin-resistant form, MRSA. It's no secret that a MRSA infection is a frequent problem that is difficult to eradicate.
The bacteria were inoculated (~1,000,000 - 10,000,000 cells/ml) in a control LB broth or LB broth with 8% gel and incubated overnight at 37ºC with shaking. At time points of 0, 2, 4, 6, 24, and 48 hours post-inoculation, an aliquot was taken, serially diluted, and plated on LB agar plates. CFUs were counted at 24-48 hours growth. As seen above, Lavengel® has an immediate inhibitory effect on MRSA that continued over the time frame examined to near elimination by 48 hours. That's pretty awesome.
Student Honors Theses
As a university professor and Associate Dean of Research at East Tennessee State University, Dr. Clark not only conducts his own research on Lavengel®, but allows undergraduate and graduate students to investigate the gel themselves for honors and doctoral theses.
Mara Trinkle, East Tennessee State University; August 2020
Lindsey Vance, East Tennessee State University; May 2018
Bo H. Marshall, East Tennessee State University; May 2017