Chronic skin wounds take a long time to heal, do not heal at all, or frequently reoccur. They can develop for a variety of reasons, with diabetes being a key contributor, especially for diabetic skin ulcers. Other common causes include burns, infections, vascular conditions, and skin cancer. Chronic wounds demand specific attention, which helps to explain why researchers have long been looking for better, more efficient biomaterials.
In the United States alone, chronic skin wounds affect an estimated 4.5 million people and account for $96.8 billion in medical expenses. According to the World Health Organization, wound healing issues are costly and widespread in other nations as well, making the matter a worldwide health concern.
The use of biomaterials made from naturally occurring sources is one of the finest regimens for managing chronic wounds. Despite the possible therapeutic benefits, the poor mechanical properties and expensive cost of these biomaterials still prevent their widespread use.
Scientists at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee are developing a synthetic biodegradable foam bandage that expedites the healing of chronic skin lesions while lowering inflammation and fostering angiogenesis.
The discovery of EG7 PTK-UR
The researchers tested a library of ROS degradable PTK-UR scaffolds in a porcine wound model. The study’s goal was to understand better how scaffold hydrophilicity affects polythioketal-based polyurethane (PTK-UR) foam scaffold resorption and tissue regeneration during wound healing.
The scientists discovered that hydrophilic scaffolds with seven ethylene glycol (EG7) units between the thioketal links in the polymer backbone had the best reactive oxygen species-dependent breakdown and porcine skin wound healing.
The EG7 formulation has greater hydrophilicity than any PTK-UR foams previously produced and has demonstrated a strong potential for fostering wound healing in clinically relevant porcine wounds.
The new substance performed as well as Integra BWM, a clinical wound-healing solution that is regarded as the “gold standard” of care when tested in pigs with chronic skin wounds.
This synthetic substance can be produced at a reasonable cost and could speed tissue repair in individuals with skin lesions that have resisted healing. This would also drop the growing burden of chronic wound management on the health system and perhaps even lead to an across-board shortening of hospital stay.
The novel EG7 PTK-UR foam dressing facilitated bulk tissue-scaffold integration, robust cellular and vascular infiltration, and wound re-surfacing. When tested against clinically approved materials in the healing of porcine excisional wounds, it performed at par with the gold standard, Integra BWM, and significantly outperformed the synthetic polyester-based foam NovoSorb.