Infection-fighting bandages may help treat serious burns

The researchers added dendrimers to the bandage, allowing it to tackle dangerous bacteria at wound sites

The researchers added dendrimers to the bandage, allowing it to tackle dangerous bacteria at wound sites (Credit: EPFL)

When a burn wound is healing, it's usually highly susceptible to infection, and bandages often make the situation worse, acting as breeding grounds for harmful microbes. A new bandage developed by researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Luassane (EPFL) could improve the healing process considerably, accelerating the healing process, while stopping bacteria multiplying.

The EPFL researchers focused on a bacterium known as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which is the primary cause of infections and death for burn patients. The tech is based on a bandage made from animal collagen and progenitor cells, which secrete growth factors and help wounds to heal faster. They were first developed back in 2005 at the Lausanne University Hospital, but weren't an ideal option at the time, as they did nothing to address the issue of infections.

Now, the researchers have come up with a way of improving the bandages, by adding molecules called dendrimers. The previously-developed molecules have a proven record of killing bacteria, making them the perfect candidate for destroying the dangerous microbes at burn wound sites.

After extensive lab testing that proved the bandages to be effective against the bacteria, the researchers are extremely positive about the degree to which the new technology could improve care.

"We cannot prescribe antibiotics to all patients as a preventative measure for fear of making the bacteria more resistant," said study lead Lee Ann Laurent-Applegate. "With the new bandages, rather than treating infections, we will be preventing them. We are nipping the problem in the bud."

The researchers published a paper detailing their work in the journal Scientific Reports.

Source: EPFL

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