Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Revolutionary medical dressing uses nanotechnology to fight infection

Date:
July 8, 2010
Source:
University of Bath
Summary:
Researchers are using nanotechnology to develop a medical dressing which will detect and treat infection in wounds. Scientists in the UK are working together with teams across Europe and Australia to create an advanced wound dressing. The dressing will work by releasing antibiotics from nanocapsules triggered by the presence of disease-causing pathogenic bacteria, which will target treatment before the infection takes hold.

Dr Toby Jenkins uses a plasma reactor to coat the prototype dressings with the antibacterial nanocapsules.
Credit: Nic Delves-Broughton

Researchers are using nanotechnology to develop a medical dressing which will detect and treat infection in wounds.

Scientists at the University of Bath and the burns team at the Southwest UK Paediatric Burns Centre at Frenchay Hospital in Bristol are working together with teams across Europe and Australia to create an advanced wound dressing.

The dressing will work by releasing antibiotics from nanocapsules triggered by the presence of disease-causing pathogenic bacteria, which will target treatment before the infection takes hold.

The dressing will also change colour when the antibiotic is released, alerting healthcare professionals that there is infection in the wound.

This is an important step in treating burns patients, particularly children, where infections can lead to toxic shock syndrome, a potentially fatal condition.

The €4.5 million European Commission funded project is a collaboration of 11 partners across Europe and Australia coordinated by Dr Renate Fφrch, at the Max-Planck-Institute for Polymer Research (Germany), which will develop the prototype dressing over four years.

The Bacteriosafe project includes chemists, cell biologists, clinicians and engineers. They will not only develop the dressing, but will also work with industry on a pre-pilot scale manufacturing process, so they could be available on the market within a few years after completion of the project.

University of Bath project leader, Dr Toby Jenkins said: "Your skin is normally home to billions of 'friendly' bacteria, which it needs to stay healthy.

"The dressing is only triggered by disease-causing bacteria, which produce toxins that break open capsules containing the antibiotics and dye.

"This means that antibiotics are only released when needed, which reduces the risk of the evolution of new antibiotic-resistant super-bugs such as MRSA."

Dr Amber Young, a paediatric burn specialist at the South West UK Paediatric Burn Centre, based at Bristol's Frenchay Hospital, will be the clinical consultant on the project.

She said: "We're really excited about this project -- every day we see young children who are seriously ill from burns who would hugely benefit from this research.

"Many people don't realise that a burn from a cup of tea can be deadly if it becomes infected.

"Conventional dressings have to be removed if the skin becomes infected, which slows healing and can be distressing for the child.

"This advanced dressing will speed up treatment because it is automatically triggered to release antibiotics only when the wound becomes infected, meaning that the dressing will not need to be removed, thereby increasing the chances of the wound healing without scarring.

"The colour change acts as an early warning system that infection is present, meaning we can treat it much faster, reducing the trauma to the child and cutting the time they have to spend in hospital."

The dressing could also be used for other types of wound, such as ulcers or by the military on the battlefield.

The researchers have already tested fabric coated with the nanocapsules, which are just one millionth of a millimetre in size. They have been shown to react specifically to harmful bacteria. Over the next four years the European team will be working on integrating the colour change technology into a suitable dressing and looking at cost effective routes for industrial production.

Case study -- Baby Isambard Ebbutt

In September 2008 baby Isambard Ebbutt pulled a boiling hot cup of tea over himself causing 32 per cent burns across his face and body.

Isambard, who was just 13-months-old, was rushed to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol where he was treated by a team of experts at the South West Regional Paediatric Burns Service.

Luckily Isambard's skin healed fully and he did not need skin grafts.

His family took Isambard home to Ellacombe, in Torquay, Devon, ten days after he was admitted.

Natalie Ebbutt, a mum of six, said: "I thought he was going to die, I just wanted my baby to live so I wanted him to be in the best place.

"It is so poignant that a cup of tea can kill, but I don't think that parents are aware of the damage that a cup of tea can do. I see adults walking around all the time with hot drinks near children."

Although Isambard recovered well from his burn, many children can develop potentially fatal infections after they are injured. The new dressing to be developed by the Bacteriosafe team will help prevent and treat infections before they take hold.

Mrs Ebbutt said: "I knew that the biggest chance of losing my child was if an infection took hold but all I could do was cross my fingers and hope for the best.

"To think now that there is a possibility of avoiding serious infection and complications with this project is amazing."

"It's a very exciting breakthrough, I am now all too aware of the dangers and what can happen if a burns wound gets an infection, it's devastating.

"There is never a day that goes by when we don't think how lucky we are to have him in such a perfect condition and see his smiling face."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Bath. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jin Zhou, Andrew L. Loftus, Geraldine Mulley, A. Toby A. Jenkins. A Thin Film Detection/Response System for Pathogenic Bacteria. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2010; 132 (18): 6566 DOI: 10.1021/ja101554a

Cite This Page:

University of Bath. "Revolutionary medical dressing uses nanotechnology to fight infection." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 July 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100707211621.htm>.
University of Bath. (2010, July 8). Revolutionary medical dressing uses nanotechnology to fight infection. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100707211621.htm
University of Bath. "Revolutionary medical dressing uses nanotechnology to fight infection." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100707211621.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) — West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) — A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Reuters - US Online Video (July 28, 2014) — Two American aid workers in Liberia test positive for Ebola while working to combat the deadliest outbreak of the virus ever. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) — Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins