Friday, May 30, 2008

A dressing that dissolves

Being in the difficult age bracket where diabetes – leading to poor healing of cuts and wounds – is a major problem, a recent discovery from a group of German researchers comes as a boon.

Scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC in Würzburg have discovered a new type of wound dressing made of silica gel fibers that helps heal difficult wounds caused by burns or diabetes. The scientists explain that the dressing forms a supporting matrix for newly growing skin cells and is fully absorbed by the body during the healing process, leading to faster healing. According to a media release, in Germany alone, about three million patients suffer from poorly healing large-area wounds caused by complaints such as diabetes, burns or bedsores.

The standard procedure of applying ordinary bandages to the wounded areas is largely unsuccessful in diabetics. That is where this new silica dressing scores. The biggest advantage of this novel dressing is that it is bio-resorbable – once applied it remains in the body, where it gradually degrades without leaving any residues. Apart from this, it also is shape-stable and pH-neutral

Since this is the inner bandage and doesn’t need to be changed (since it dissolves automatically), in large wounds, only the outer bandage needs to be changed, thereby leading to lower risks of infection. The scientists also plan to integrate active substances such as antibiotics or painkillers in the dressing to improve and accelerate the healing process.

However, the dressing is not yet commercially available. According to a media release, Bayer has already agreed to support them in development and marketing of the dressing and expects hospitals to start using the silica gel wound dressing in 2011.

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