A team of researchers, led by Prof. Biman B. Mandal from the Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering in IIT Guwahati, has developed a nanofibrous mat that heals wounds faster without leaving any scars behind.
Made of non-protein polymer mixed with silk protein, the mat is coated with an antibiotic and epidermal growth factor. According to reports, it can heal wounds that have layers of skin removed and are as big as 6mm in diameter.
The mat accelerates the healing process, unlike conventional dressing material that only absorbs fluids and blood. The results for the same were recently published in the journal, Acta Biomaterialia.
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Normally, the wound healing process looks something like this: The body cells in and around the wound are brought towards the wound for repair, along with progenitor cells that have the tendency to differentiate and form one or more kinds of cells. But this process takes time.
In case of the nanofibrous mat, the non-mulberry silk protein uses an amino acid sequence that attracts repair cells faster. The researchers studied both non-mulberry silk (wild silk) and mulberry silk (domesticated silk) for the mat and found that mulberry silk does not have the required amino acid sequence for quick healing. They then compared mats synthesised with wild non-mulberry silk to those synthesised using mulberry silk, Polyvinyl alcohol, and control. It took 21 days for the wound to heal completely using control, 18 days using PVA, 15 days using mulberry silk, and 10-11 days using wild silk.
The mat also has the antibiotic Ciprofloxacin to stop the growth of common bacteria around the wound. “Generally, antibiotics have a short life span. So we embedded the antibiotic in the matrix so that the drug gets released for up to 80 hours or more,” Prof. Mandal told The Hindu. The mat will be useful for diabetics whose wounds heal very slowly.