A team of researchers has designed a new bandage treatment, known as a scaffold, to treat diabetic foot ulcers, which is cost-effective while improving patient outcomes.
Produced by 3D bioprinting, the study, published in the journal Drug Delivery and Translational Research, scaffolds slowly release antibiotics over four weeks to effectively treat the wound.
"These scaffolds are like windows that enable doctors to monitor the healing constantly. This avoids needing to remove them constantly, which can provoke infection and delay the healing process," said researcher Dimitrios Lamprou from Queen's University Belfast.
"The 'frame' has an antibiotic that helps to 'kill' the bacteria infection, and the 'glass' that can be prepared by collagen/sodium alginate can contain a growth factor to encourage cell growth. The scaffold has two molecular layers that play an important role in healing the wound," Lamprou added.
Diabetes, a lifelong condition that causes a person's blood sugar level to become too high, is among the top ten causes of death worldwide.
Diabetic foot ulcer (DFU) is a serious complication of diabetes, affecting approximately 25 per cent of diabetic patients. When identified, over 50 per cent are already infected and over 70 per cent of cases result in lower limb amputation.
The treatment strategy required for the effective healing of DFU is a complex process that requires several combined therapeutic approaches.
As a result, there is a significant clinical and economic burden associated with treating DFU. These treatments are often unsuccessful, which leads to lower-limb amputation.
This new research, to be presented at the Controlled Release Society (CRS) Workshop, in Italy, demonstrates outcomes with significant implications for patient quality of life, as well as decreasing the costs and clinical burden in treating DFU.