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Bandages laced with a special healing agent could be used to treat burns or chronic wounds

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Bandages laced with a special healing agent that promotes the formation of new blood vessels could be used to treat people with burns or chronic wounds

  • Experts from the University of Sheffield developed two styles of the bandages
  • These include a cotton non-woven bandage as well as a cotton wax dressing 
  • In tests on chicken embryo-based membrane models, they proved effective  
  • They could be useful for patients with diabetes that develop chronic wounds

Bandages laced with a special healing agent that promotes the formation of new blood vessels could be used to treat people with burns or chronic wounds. 

Experts from Sheffield developed the bandages, which have proven effective at aiding vessel formation in initial tests in a chicken embryo-based membrane model.

The treatments could be of particular benefit to those people with diabetes, who can offer suffer chronic wounds which can take months to heal and risk amputation.

Bandages laced with a special healing agent that promotes the formation of new blood vessels, pictured, could be used to treat people with burns or chronic wounds

Bandages laced with a special healing agent that promotes the formation of new blood vessels, pictured, could be used to treat people with burns or chronic wounds

‘Chronic wounds can be a huge problem for people with diabetes,’ said paper author and tissue engineering expert Sheila MacNeil of the University of Sheffield.

‘Once they develop they can be difficult to treat, even more so for people in developing countries who can’t afford to access advanced healthcare.’

‘In the worst cases these wounds can lead to amputation.’

Around 200,000 people in the UK suffer from chronic wounds, which often also result in poor sleep, a loss of mobility and social isolation.

The researchers’ new cotton-based dressings are laced with an agent that promotes a crucial part of the healing process — that of the formation of new blood vessels.

Known to experts as ‘angiogenesis’, the formation of new blood vessels does not take place in chronic wounds and burns injuries, in which the upper skin layer is typically damaged beyond repair.

The researchers tested two variations of their new bandages — a non-woven cotton dressing and a cotton wax dressing — on a ‘fertilised chick egg’ membrane model that let the team observe resulting blood vessel formation.

Both dressings were loaded with an agent named 2-deoxy-D-ribose (2dDR), which is known to encourages the formation of new blood vessels in both normal and diabetic rats.

‘The new dressings we are developing are demonstrating the potential to treat these wounds more effectively than the current treatment methods,’ commented Professor MacNeil.

‘The non-woven cotton fibres would be ideal for treating chronic wounds and ulcer wounds because of their good absorption capacity,’ he added.

‘The 2dDR containing cotton wax dressing would be more appropriate for treating burn wounds because of its non-adhesive properties.’

Experts from Sheffield developed the bandages, which have proven effective at aiding vessel formation in initial tests in a chicken embryo-based membrane model. Pictured, the cotton wax dressing variation of the novel bandage technology

Experts from Sheffield developed the bandages, which have proven effective at aiding vessel formation in initial tests in a chicken embryo-based membrane model. Pictured, the cotton wax dressing variation of the novel bandage technology

The dressings could be used to treat people with diabetes, 15 per cent of whom develop difficult-to-heal diabetic ulcers on their feet and lower legs.

They could also be used to treat people who suffer from superficial or partial burns.

Partial burns are more serious than superficial burns and require rapid healing to avoid such complications as contraction, scarring and sepsis.

The treatments, pictured, could be of particular benefit to those people with diabetes, who can offer suffer chronic wounds which can take months to heal and risk amputation

The treatments, pictured, could be of particular benefit to those people with diabetes, who can offer suffer chronic wounds which can take months to heal and risk amputation

The team is now hoping to test the blood vessel-boosting bandages in Pakistan, where more than five million people suffer from diabetes while surgeons and patients do not have access to affordable wound care.

‘We’re now hoping to continue our research in Pakistan and run first in man safety studies before clinical trials to bring the dressings a step closer to being available for patients and healthcare systems,’ said Professor MacNeil.

If tests go well, the researchers aim to make their bandages more affordable and accessible to patients in developing countries, where there is a growing need for chronic wound and burn treatments.

The full findings of the study were published in The Journal of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine.

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