A new, inexpensive wound dressing material that can heal wounds much faster in patients with diabetes has been developed by the students of Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-M), Chennai, India.
The research team used a carbon allotrope and psyllium husk (isabgol) that can accelerate wound healing in both normal individuals and also people with diabetes.
"Wounds in people with diabetes heal slower than in healthy people, with the inflammation or the painful phase taking longer. This delays the formation of blood vessels and the cellular matrix, but the challenge is that we do not know why this happens," said Vignesh Muthuvijayan, one of the authors of the research paper and an assistant professor in the department of biotechnology at IIT-M.
Diabetes affects around 70 million Indians and the number is on the rise, reveals the research team.
New Wound Dressing Material
In the new dressing material, graphene oxide, which is a thin sheet of graphite has been reduced using intense sunlight, which is then mixed with a rubbery electrolyzed isabgol to form wound-healing scaffolds.
Muthuvijayan said that the reduced graphene oxide is well known for its electrical properties. However, it's active biomedical properties were not utilized to date.
The new dressing material developed can improve the blood vessel formation and aids in faster wound healing.
Muthuvijayan and his team have been experimenting with various materials to find a material that can improve healing.
Cost of the Dressing Material
Currently, the materials that are available for faster wound healing are expensive, costing up to $2,000 for a 4 to 5 sq-in patch. However, this new dressing material is inexpensive.
The research team said that they are hoping to cut down the cost by 50-60 fold, to around ₹1,000.
Instead of using cotton or gauze, which is normally used, the dressing material covers the open wound and is wrapped over using a normal bandage.
"The time a wound takes to heal depends on the blood sugar level of the person and where the wound is, whether there is proper blood circulation in the area of the wound, has there been nerve damage, is it a deep wound going into the bone. All these factors play a role. However, it is extremely difficult to form blood vessels where there are none. This scaffold, in preliminary animal trials, has given promising results, but its efficacy remains to be seen in humans," said Dr. Anoop Misra, chairman, Fortis C-Doc, New Delhi, and president of national diabetes, obesity and cholesterol foundation.