Exploiting polymersomes to create 'smart' wound dressings with diagnostic and antimicrobial capabilities

01 January 2021 → Ongoing
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Engineering and technology
    • Biomaterials
    • Materials processing
    • Materials synthesis
    • Biomaterials engineering not elsewhere classified
wound dressing
Project description

One of the major issues present in open wound management is bacterial infection. To tackle this issue, within the proposed project, a novel and ‘smart’ polymer-based wound dressing will be developed which maintains the moisture balance and holds additionally both diagnostic and antimicrobial properties. Nanovesicles will be applied starting from polymersomes whereby part will be loaded with a self-quenched dye and part with an antimicrobial compound. The nanovesicles will lyse due to the presence of virulence factors expressed by bacteria present in wounds. The virulence factor expression regulated by bacterial species is based on the population density. The biofilm formation will result in activation or an increased expression of virulence factors resulting in cargo release. The nanovesicles will subsequently be incorporated in a ‘nature-derived’, photo-crosslinked alginate-based wound dressing. The wound dressing will be obtained using co-axial electrospinning to create nanofibers with a core-shell morphology. With the core and shell containing the loaded vesicles with respectively dye versus antimicrobial agent as cargo, a controlled release of the antimicrobial compound can be realized from the shell while visual diagnosis of the wound infection can occur as a result of the release of the self-quenched dye. The wound dressings will be optimized to tune their swelling and mechanical properties as well as their diagnostic and antimicrobial capabilities.