Development of a smart diagnostic antimicrobial hydrogel-based wound dressing.

01 January 2019 → 31 December 2022
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Engineering and technology
    • Process engineering not elsewhere classified
polymers wound dressings electrospinning
Project description

In the present project, smart diagnostic, antimicrobial hydrogel-based wound dressings will be developed. Two critical issues concerning wound dressings will be tackled, namely the inferior mechanical properties and the uncontrolled release of bioactive compounds. Bacterial infection is still a large problem in burn wound care. Moreover, diagnosis of wound infection is not straightforward and time-consuming. When an infection is present, bacteria release virulence factors such as cytotoxins. By incorporating dye-containing vesicles and identical vesicles with antimicrobials in a hydrogel matrix, the vesicles can be lysed by these toxins. The building blocks for the hydrogel matrix will be acrylate-endcapped urethane-based precursors to improve mechanical properties. The lysed dye vesicles will cause a visual colour change, which alerts healthcare workers that the wound is infected. This (early) identification can lead to a more effective treatment. At the same time, a controlled release of antimicrobials from the vesicles will also be established. The dressing will be processed through co-axial electrospinning. Electrospun fibre mats can provide an excellent environment to promote wound healing by mimicking the extra-cellular matrix. The fibre core-shell structure enables to separately control the antimicrobial/dye release. The materials will be subjected to an in-depth characterization using state of the art devices, antibacterial tests and in vitro biocompatibility assays.