Improvement of wound healing

The challenge of chronic wounds

Many people suffer from chronic wounds that have not healed after six to eight weeks, such as ulcers caused by bedsores, open leg or diabetic foot. In addition, numerous patients receive treatment for radiation wounds and poorly healing surgical wounds. The injuries are additionally frequently infected by germs, which in turn delays healing or even makes it impossible.

The development and evaluation of new forms of treatment for chronic skin disorders are therefore extremely important in regard to reducing costs and improving care.

Solution approaches

Multifunctional surface modifications improve adhesion of primary cells

Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB are working on new forms of therapy. They are developing new multifunctional surface modifications within the Fraunhofer Übermorgen SKIN HEAL project. Their colleagues at the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC are providing the already approved silica gel nonwoven materials as a basis for this, which have a positive influence on the healing process.

By binding amino groups, with the aid of plasma processes or chemical vapor deposition, the nonwoven surfaces have already been modified in such a way that primary human skin cells adhere and grow better.

Fig. 1: Scanning electron microscope image of the particles loaded with dexpanthenol.

Particle-based formulations integrated into wound dressings or direct application

Another approach for the individual treatment of these chronic wounds which has also been pursued within the Fraunhofer “Beyond Tomorrow” project “SKIN HEAL” are particle-based formulations. The particles loaded with active agents can be integrated into commercial wound dressings or directly applied during treatment as pharmaceutical formulations.

Spray drying proved to be suitable as a process for the production of particle-based formulations for improved wound healing. The particles were successfully integrated into the wound dressing. The release properties of the active agents and particles can further be optimized by the variation of the capsule material or the additional coating of the particles. Various crosslinkers (covalent and non-covalent) in the production of the chitosan particles are currently being tested for this.

The particle systems developed here could be transferred to the most varying problems in the area of formulation, as well as small molecule agents and biopharmaceuticals.