Case Study

Antibacterial scaffold for wound healing

Date: August 21, 2018

University of Bradford researchers are working with a York medtech company to refine its novel resorbable scaffold, created to promote healing in chronic wounds.

The scaffold was developed by spin-out company, Neotherix, and is made by electrospinning a bioresorbable polymer into a mesh structure. Once implanted into a wound it is designed to encourage new skin cells to grow into it, promoting healing.

The PhotoTherixTM scaffold will dissolve once enough time has passed for new cells to grow into the area. It is also impregnated with a dye that will release molecules called reactive oxygen species (ROS). When activated by a particular type of light, the ROS can kill bacteria in the wound. Researchers led by Professor Des Tobin at the University of Bradford’s Centre for Skin

Sciences are now working on an IKC-funded project to investigate what type of light is most effective in activating the release of the ROS, and so most effective at killing bacteria.

“The NHS is facing two major challenges in the area of woundcare – an increasingly ageing population and rising levels of diabetes,” explains Professor Tobin. “Both of these mean more resources than ever are needed to treat chronic wounds such as ulcers, which can remain unhealed for a year or even longer. They’re expensive to treat in terms of monitoring and changing dressings, as well as being painful and inconvenient for patients, who have to arrange hospital or home visits for treatment.”

Working with microbiology specialist Dr Anna Snelling, also based at the University of Bradford, the team will introduce different types of bacteria commonly found in chronic wounds into the scaffold in the lab, along with healthy skin cells. The samples will then be irradiated with different wavelengths of light. The aim is to verify that the ROS will selectively kill bacteria without harming any of the healthy skin cells.

The project was also supported by the NIHR WoundTec Healthcare Technology Cooperative, who helped identify the scale of the unmet clinical need for the technology.

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