What is the project about?
A wound is often referred to as ‘chronic’ if it has not healed within 12 weeks. Chronic wounds are typically characterised by prolonged inflammation, often due to persistent microbial infection, which prevents the wound from progressing through the normal stages of the healing process.
RAFT is developing a novel biomaterial, to find a solution to effectively heal chronic wounds.
The material will possess antimicrobial properties, and act as a temporary skin while fighting infection. It will also contain an active molecule with anti-inflammatory properties, and a naturally derived polymer which is known to encourage blood vessel formation.
What benefits will the project bring to patients?
Chronic wounds (wounds that do not heal within 12 weeks) remain one of the most debilitating health problems in the UK and globally. It’s estimated that around 200,000 patients in the UK and 50 million globally suffer from chronic wounds such as leg ulcers and pressure sores. It is estimated about five per cent (around £6 billion) of the NHS budget is spent on treatment. In cases where treatment is not successful, lower limb amputation may be required.
But these figures and costs may only be the tip of the iceberg. A study in Denmark found that nearly 60% of open pressure sores are not reported in medical records. If Denmark is typical, then the true global numbers and costs must be staggering.
RAFT’s novel biomaterial would provide clinicians with a one-step treatment to repair the function and appearance of the affected tissue. This treatment would be less time consuming for NHS staff to carry out, therefore bringing a financial benefit in addition to the improved wound healing experienced by the patient.
Where is this project heading?
This project is in the early phase of conceptualisation and optimisation. Currently, a range of prototypes are being fabricated and tested by Dr Vaibhav Sharma (featured above, speaking about RAFT’s wound healing research), the lead scientist for this project. The next step involves selecting a prototype followed by rigorous testing in the laboratory, before taking the product into the clinical phase of research.