Silica Gel Fibers to Assist in Wound Healing

A new type of wound dressing made of silica gel fibers will soon help to heal skin wounds caused by burns or diabetes, reports Science Daily. The dressing was developed by scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC in Würzburg, Germany.

The dressing forms a supporting matrix for newly growing skin cells and has been found to fully absorb into the body during the healing process. In Germany alone, about three million mostly elderly patients are reported to suffer from poorly healing large-area wounds caused by diabetes, burns or bedsores, among others. These wounds can be treated with conventional collagen dressings or polylactic acid dressings but according to the report, the success rate could be higher.

The new dressing made of silica gel fibers is said to have many advantages: it is shape-stable, pH-neutral and 100%bioresorbable. Once applied, it remains in the body where it gradually degrades without leaving residue. In addition, according to the report, the fibre fleece provides the healthy cells around the edges of the wound with the structure they need for a proper supply of growth-supporting nutrients. Jörn Probst, PhD, of the ISC, explained in a press statement that the supporting matrix for the cells increases the chances of a scar-free natural closure of the wound.

The fibers are reportedly produced by means of wet-chemical material synthesis, a sol-gel process in which a transparent, honey-like gel is produced from tetraethoxysilane (TEOS), ethanol and water in a multi-stage, acidically catalyzed synthesis process. The gel is processed in a spinning tower.

Jörn Probst, PhD, and Dipl.-Ing. Walther Glaubitt will receive the Joseph von Fraunhofer Prize 2008 for developing the biocompatible dressing. In addition, apartner to support the development and to market the dressing has dy been announced: Bayer Innovation GmbH BIG, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bayer AG.

For more information, visit the Science Daily Web site.


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