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Reduced risk of infection: new dressing material is hemostatic and does not stick
Even with minor everyday injuries, it is often extremely uncomfortable to change the bandage. It pulls and pinches, and sometimes a scabbed wound starts to bleed again. This problem could be solved in the future. Because a research team has developed a new type of dressing material that is hemostatic and does not stick.
Wound healing is often delayed because the wound sticks to the plaster or bandage. Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich and the National University of Singapore may have found a solution to the problem. They developed a new type of wound dressing that has a hemostatic effect and does not stick to the wound. This is the first time that experts have combined the two properties in one material.
Tested material showed unexpected properties
"Actually it wasn't planned that way, but that's how science sometimes works: You start researching something and end up somewhere else," ETH Professor Dimos Poulikakos explains in a message.
Together with researchers from his working group and those from the National University of Singapore, he tested various superhydrophobic materials - those that, like Teflon, repel liquids such as water and blood extremely well.
The aim was to find coating materials for devices that come into contact with blood, such as heart-lung machines or artificial hearts.
One of the materials tested showed unexpected properties: it not only repelled blood, but also caused it to clot. The material was therefore unsuitable for coating a blood pump with it. However, the scientists quickly realized that this material is ideal as a wound dressing.
Blood-repellent and coagulative
Blood-repellent and coagulation-promoting are two different properties that are advantageous for wound dressings: Blood-repellent dressings do not absorb blood, do not stick to the wound and are therefore easier to remove later.
Coagulation-promoting substances and materials, on the other hand, are used in medicine to stop bleeding as quickly as possible. But so far there have been no materials that are both blood-repellent and promote blood clotting.
According to the communication, the scientists are bringing these two properties together in one material for the first time.
The researchers coated a classic cotton gauze fabric with the new material - a mixture of silicone and carbon nanofibers. In laboratory tests, they were able to show that blood clots in just a few minutes in contact with the coated gauze.
However, it is still unclear exactly why the new material triggers blood coagulation and is the subject of further research. However, the scientists suspect that the carbon fibers are responsible for this.
The researchers were also able to show that the coated gauze has an antibacterial effect - because bacteria adhere poorly to the surface. They also confirmed the effectiveness of the new wound dressing in tests with rats.
Their results were published in the "Nature Communications" magazine.
Reduce risk of infection
"With the new superhydrophobic material, you can prevent the wound from tearing open when changing the dressing," explains Athanasios Milionis, postdoctoral researcher in Poulikakos ’group.
"Because reopening is a big problem, especially because of the risk of infections - including dangerous hospital germs - which is particularly pronounced when changing dressings."
According to the experts, the future areas of application are very wide: in emergency medicine and surgery to avoid large blood losses, but also as a plaster in the first-aid kit and first-aid kit.
According to the information, ETH Zurich and the National University of Singapore have applied for a patent for the new material. Before it can be used in humans, researchers must further develop and optimize the material.
According to the scientists, further trials are necessary, first with other animal species and then with humans, to prove that they are harmless and effective. (ad)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
- ETH Zurich: Novel dressing material is hemostatic and does not stick, (accessed: January 12, 2020), ETH Zurich
- Zhe Li, Athanasios Milionis, Yu Zheng, Marcus Yee, Lukas Codispoti, Freddie Tan, Dimos Poulikakos & Choon Hwai Yap: Superhydrophobic hemostatic nanofiber composites for fast clotting and minimal adhesion, in: Nature Communications, (published: 05.12.2019), Nature Communications