A revolutionary cottony glass material that Missouri University researchers have developed is set to take on hard-to-heal open wounds.
The material - a nanofiber borate glass - could become a source of relief for diabetics fighting infections.
It also could be used by battlefield medics or emergency medical technicians to treat wounds in the field.
In a recent clinical trial, the material was found to speed the healing of venous stasis wounds in eight out of the 12 patients enrolled in the trial.
Delbert E. Day, a pioneer in the development of bioglass materials and his former student, Steve Jung, experimented with borate glass, which early lab studies showed reacted to fluids much faster than silicate glasses.
"The borate glasses react with the body fluids very quickly" when applied to an open wound, said Day.
"They begin to dissolve and release elements into the body that stimulate the body to generate new blood vessels. This improves the blood supply to the wound, allowing the body's normal healing processes to take over."
Depending on the severity of the wound, Day said the wounds could heal within a few weeks to several months after the material is applied.
"Within a few days, most patients see an improvement," he added.
The study was recently published in the American Ceramic Society's Bulletin magazine.