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New Wound Dressing Mimics Skin, Dissolves When Finished

A revolutionary, dissolvable wound dressing developed at Tel Aviv University could help reduce deaths caused by burn-related infections.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 11/18/2009, 4:46 PM / Last Update: 11/18/2009, 8:15 PM

American Friends of Tel Aviv University

A revolutionary, dissolvable wound dressing developed at Tel Aviv University could help reduce deaths caused by burn-related infections.

ScienceDaily.com reports that currently, 70% of those with severe burns die from related infections. Prof. Meital Zilberman of Tel Aviv University’s Department of Biomedical Engineering has developed a new wound dressing that is filled with antibiotics and other healing agents, and that dissolves when the wound is healed.

The dressing is based on fibers that Prof. Zilberman engineered. A study published in the Journal of Biomedical Materials Research shows that the new dressing can eradicate infection-causing bacteria after only two days.

"We've developed the first wound dressing that both releases antibiotic drugs and biodegrades in a controlled manner," Prof. Zilberman said. "It solves current mechanical and physical limitations in wound-dressing techniques, and gives physicians a new and more effective platform for treating burns and bedsores."

The ScienceDaily report explains that Prof. Zilberman designed the dressing to mimic skin and the way it protects the body.  "Wound dressings must maintain a certain level of moisture while acting as a shield," she explained. "Like skin, they must also enable fluids from the wound to leave the infected tissue at a certain rate. It can't be too fast or too slow. If too fast, the wound will dry out and it won't heal properly. If too slow, there's a real risk of increased contamination."

The dressing thus combines positive mechanical and physical properties with what medical researchers call "a desired release profile of antibiotics."

Prof. Zilberman is now starting the early stages of clinical trials on animal models. So far, her wound dressing has passed physical and mechanical tests in vitro and in bacterial inhibition tests in the laboratory. She is also seeking a strategic partner to co-develop the research and take it to the commercial stage.