What You Should Know:
– Missouri University of Science and Technology researchers are developing new 3D-printed hydrogel dressings to speed up and improve the healing process for patients with second-degree burns. The research team published an article covering their latest findings in the International Journal of Bioprinting in July.
– Hydrogels are typically part of the care regimen for patients with severe burns, but what separates S&T’s research from standard hydrogels is that the team is focusing on precisely 3D printing dressings that also include bioactive borate glass.
3D-printed Hydrogel Dressings
By 3D printing the dressings and including the glass, the researchers can better control the release of water from the dressing. Instead of coming in bursts, the water is paced out continuously over the course of 10 days, which means the dressing should stay effective on the wound for a longer time. In a study using a murine model, researchers observed that the 3D-printed dressings led to faster wound closures, less scarring, non-adhesive contact of the dressing and easier dressing removal.
“We have developed dressings with bioactive formulations to better address issues that patients with burn injuries regularly face,” says Dr. Fateme Fayyazbakhsh, an assistant research professor of mechanical engineering at S&T and the project’s lead researcher. “The continuous hydration provided by these dressings, along with their non-adhesive and porous texture, show great promise in promoting moist wound healing, reducing pain caused by atraumatic dressing removal, and minimizing scar tissue formation.”
Fayyazbakhsh says the next steps for this research are to continue refining and improving the dressing, while also demonstrating its viability as a treatment option and considering its long-term efficacy. She says the eventual goal is to hold clinical trials with patients and then commercialize the treatment.
“We are making great strides toward one day having the dressings commercialized and providing better treatment for burn patients,” Fayyazbakhsh says.