Researchers Load Fibers with Antibiotics for Skin Healing

A wound dressing has been developed by researchers at Tel Aviv University that can be loaded with drugs like antibiotics to speed the skin's healing process.

The dressing, which was developed by Prof. Meital Zilberman  and Jonathan Elsner of the university's department of biomedical engineering, is based on fibers engineered to be loaded with drugs like antibiotics to speed up the healing process, and then dissolve after the infection-causing bacteria have been eradicated. These bacteria reportedly can be eradicated in two days.

The group developed the dressing technology, which has not been given a formal name, as treatment for burns and bedsores and have published their study in the Journal of Biomedical Materials Research—Applied Biomaterials .

The fibers were composed of a polyglyconate core and a porous poly(DL-lactic-co-glycolic acid) shell loaded with the antibiotic agent gentamicin and prepared using freeze drying of inverted emulsions. The release profiles generally exhibited an initial burst effect accompanied by a decrease in release rates with time. Albumin was found to be the most effective surfactant for stabilizing the inverted emulsions. All three formulation parameters had a significant effect on gentamicin's release profile. An increase in the polymer and organic:aqueous phase ratio or a decrease in the drug content resulted in a lower burst release and a more moderate release profile.

The dressing was designed by the group to mimic skin by maintaining moisture levels and enabling fluids to leave infected tissue at a controlled rate. It containes a desired release profile of antibiotics, and fights bacteria before they can enter the body to cause further damage. 

According to the group, the dressing allows doctors to administer high levels of antibiotics without toxicity issues. In addition, there is no need for constant wound cleaning and redressing. The dressing has passed in vitro physical and mechanical tests and has inhibited bacteria in the laboratory. The researchers reportedly are seeking a strategic partner to co-develop the research and commercialize the dressing. Althought the dressing was developed for burns and bed sores, the ability of its fibers to carry materials such as antibiotics may have future applications in the treatment of skin conditions.

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