Check out these four new and cutting-edge wound treatments that’ll have you excited and ready for the future.
When it comes to wound care, there are some incredible developments in progress that might just blow your mind. In fact, these new products and treatments are so cutting-edge, they sound like they’re straight out of science a fiction movie or super hero comic book. What are they and why are we so excited?
Meet the Fantastic Four
Clinicians know that healing chronic wounds is especially challenging due to a variety of barriers and patient co-morbidities. Fortunately, advanced treatments and technologies facilitate the care of these wounds and promote healing. These advancements are having a positive impact in terms of shortened healing times and reduced hospital stays.
Ready for some impressive examples? Let’s take a look at four fantastic new wound treatments that are either in the experimental or trial phase, and will hopefully be a part of our wound-care future.
1. Cobwebs for Wound Healing and Drug Delivery
The medicinal properties of spider silk to primarily stop bleeding have been recognized for centuries, but only recently has its potential for healing wounds been on the forefront. A synthetic spider silk has been developed specifically for wound care that can deliver drugs (such as antibiotics), and be used in regenerative medicine.
What are the benefits of spider silk? For starters, it is protein-based, strong, biocompatible and biodegradable. In addition, spider silk does not cause a strong immune or inflammatory reaction. Future developments of this silk’s qualities in an advanced wound dressing might include: the capacity to replace the extra cellular matrix that our own cells produce: the ability to facilitate growth of the new tissue, and: a controlled delivery of medicine.
2. Human Skin From a 3-D Bioprinter
According to the journal, Biofabrication, a team of researchers have demonstrated a prototype for a 3-D bioprinter capable of creating human skin. The layers consist of the epidermis and dermis, which include fibroblasts that produce collagen. Instead of using ink and cartridges, this printer uses injectors with biological components – all controlled by a computer.
The patient’s own cells may be used to create autografts, which are especially useful for burns and other wounds. Due to the automation and standardization process, 3-D printing will be less expensive than manual production. Only human cells are used – to avoid use of animal cells – and the skin is bioactive so that it can generate human collagen.
3. Spray-On Stem Cells for Burn Care
Using a SkinGun™ to spray on stem cells for the treatment of burns, wounds and other skin disorders is showing great promise. Although still experimental and not yet FDA approved, researchers are using stem cells from bone marrow, fat and skin cells. The patient’s cells are harvested from an unwounded area (usually one square inch), naturally suspended in a water-based solution, and then sprayed on the open wound area. One of the most exciting initial findings is that scarring is minimal, compared to traditional grafting techniques.
4. Peptide Hydrogel as Skin-Cell “Crawling” Agent
Researchers have found that peptide hydrogel prompts skin cells to “crawl” together, and close even the most challenging chronic and diabetic wounds. The hydrogel has a Q – peptide, which supports the survival of stem cells and fibroblasts (the cells that make collagen and connective tissue). It also provides a substrate – or moist scaffold – for the cells to move across. Because of the resulting acceleration, wounds have been shown to close 200% faster, as compared to wounds receiving no treatment at all.
Are You Ready for the Future?
These new treatments and medical devices seem to come straight out of an episode of Star Trek, and isn’t it awesome? They offer exciting possibilities for wound care clinicians, and new hope for our patients and their families.
So, we’re curious: have you heard of or read about any of these (or other) cutting-edge developments in wound care? Have you been following any specific research that you can’t wait to hear more about? We’d love to know more about it – please share your feedback below.
Wound Care Education Institute® provides online and onsite courses in the fields of Skin and Wound, Diabetic and Ostomy Management. Health care professionals who meet the eligibility requirements may sit for the prestigious WCC®, DWC® and OMS national board certification examinations through the National Alliance of Wound Care and Ostomy® (NAWCO®). For more information see wcei.net.