Biomaterials Research Update: New Wound Healing Materials at Purdue

Line art drawing of a bandage being applied.

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Researchers at Purdue University’s Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering are in the process of developing scaffold-like materials that promises to speed up the recovery process for patients. The wound healing material has a fast curing time once inside the body.

Alyssa Panitch, an associate professor at Purdue University, heads the research team that discovered the liquid wound healing material, after numerous years of clinical testing at the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering. The material is being touted as a modern medicine breakthrough and promises to create an expedited process for burn victims and those that require the fastest recovery time possible.

The research is showing that the liquid material can be injected directly into a wound site and will solidify and fill any space needed. Once inside the body, the liquid spreads out and forms an almost immediate bonding for repairs of such wound treatments as mending damaged bones, spinal cord fusions, arterial reattachment, and other tissue rebuilding procedures.

According to Alyssa Panitch, the associate professor on the research team, “because the material starts out as a thickened liquid, it rapidly can be injected into almost any part of the human anatomy and quickly fills in the gaps between severely damaged and or missing tissues.” The liquid forms a three-dimensional matrix and after the wounded area has had time to reattach to either bone or tissue the material disintegrates and is removed from the body as normal waste.

The advantages of this research stem from the options that are made available through the open-access wound healing material. Purdue researchers define the term open-access for those materials that can have other medicines mixed in with the injection. The gel can be loaded up with antibiotics or pain medication and can be directly applied to the nerve endings on the wounded site.

With so many options now made available with the wound healing material the research team is very excited as clinical trials are becoming more successful and more engaging through the scientific and medical community. The delivery of necessary drugs and other wound healing properties directly into the interior site of the treatment area has the medical community excited and anxious to see how far this new research actually goes.

The material is being tested for the improvement of “drug-eluting stents,” that are metallic scaffolds, which are inserted into the arteries to allow the blood to flow more easily, and undeterred. The problem that the cardiovascular surgeons who operate on heart patients and utilize stent procedures have is that at times blood clots can form and not be discovered until a heart attack occurs. The new material could save lives, as the elimination of clotting could be a distinct advantage in many of the open-heart surgery procedures.

The research was detailed in a paper presented Monday, March 29, 2011, during the American Chemical Society‘s 233rd National Meeting & Exposition held in Chicago, Illinois. It was met with overwhelming interest and research partnerships with Purdue and Arizona State University (Alyssa Panitch, Associate Professor Alma Mater).

The future research might certainly include the strengthening of the material as this will be a very important part of broken bone and bone surgery wound healing. Research with polymers has concluded that the use of these strengthening materials, when applied with the delivery of the gel, has been successful. Researchers at Purdue have shown how the gels are strengthened by the use of polymers that have more “functional groups.” These functional groups are attached to other molecules which then make the matrix much stronger.

Read and learn more about Alyssa Panitch’s new wound healing materials research in this Purdue University news article . The research paper that was presented to the American Chemical Society’s 233rd National Meeting & Exposition can be read on the site in this article.

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