Oct. 9, 2006 Scientists in the United Kingdom have developed a new wound dressing that could bring the benefits of maggot therapy to patients without putting live Greenbottle fly (blowfly) larvae into non-healing wounds.
The joint research project of Stephen Britland from Bradford University and David Pritchard of Nottingham University included colleagues from the Bradford-based biotechnology company AGT Sciences Ltd. It describes development and preliminary testing in laboratory cell cultures of the new hydrogel dressing in a report scheduled for publication in the Oct. 6 issue of the ACS bimonthly journal Biotechnology Progress.
The researchers note resurgence in medical use of larval biotherapy -- intentionally introducing blowfly maggots into non-healing wounds to clean away dead tissue.
Medical use of the technique led to observations suggesting that maggots' excretions and secretions (ESs) also may encourage regeneration of tissue and wound healing. Realizing that the ESs would have to be delivered in a controlled fashion, Britland's group developed the hydrogel dressing, which slowly releases maggot ESs.
"The present prototype hydrogel wound dressing could potentially be deployed as a device to deliver insect-derived active products to skin wounds in vivo to encourage tissue regeneration."
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