D’Sa group awarded EPSRC grant

Nitric Oxide Platforms for Wound Healing Applications

There are a few public health issues of greater importance globally than antimicrobial resistance (AMR). AMR does not recognise borders; thereby necessitating the fight to be a coordinated multidisciplinary effort. In this ‘post-antibiotic era’ the urgency for new technologies that do not rely on traditional antibiotics to combat infection is in essential. Currently there is no robust clinical evidence showing that dressings containing antimicrobials are more effective than unmedicated dressings for the prevention or treatment of chronic wounds. Systemic reviews of advanced dressings constantly show the lack of high-quality studies with clinically relevant endpoints. Indeed, wound dressings account for about £120 million of prescribing costs in primary care in England each year, with more than £25 million being spent on silver based antimicrobial dressings alone. The clinical evidence supporting the efficacy of these dressings is sparse and is in need of clinician input into cost and patient implication for the ultimate goal of management and healing of chronic wounds. The goal of this project is to strategically develop the technology to fabricate advanced wound dressings by trying to fight infection (without contributing to AMR) and simultaneously encouraging skin tissue regeneration.

Successful treatment of a chronic wounds depends on identifying and treating factors that impede the healing process. It has recently been recognised that bacteria that are found in chronic wounds reside in communities called biofilms which contribute to infection and delayed healing. Therefore, standard wound management becomes more complex and new solutions need to be biofilm-targeted. Nitric Oxide (NO) is an effective therapeutic for chronic wound healing as it has been proven as a potent anti-biofilm agent and it plays a key role in active wound regeneration. The mode of action of NO is different to conventional antibiotics and as such will not contribute to AMR.