20 October 2023

New gel accelerates healing of diabetic foot wounds

A dressing pre-saturated with magnetic hydrogel is applied to the wound and an external device is used to accelerate the wound healing process.

Diabetic patients take much longer for wounds to heal and often develop chronic wounds and serious infections, leading to amputation. This syndrome is known as diabetic foot. A team of researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) has developed an innovative magnetic gel that will accelerate diabetic wound healing, reduce recurrence rates and limb amputation.

The specially formulated wound-healing gel contains two types of FDA-approved skin cells - keratinocytes (essential for skin repair) and fibroblasts (to form connective tissue) - as well as tiny magnetic particles. Combined with a dynamic magnetic field generated by an external device, the mechanical stimulation of the gel stimulates dermal fibroblasts to become more active.

Laboratory tests have shown that the increased fibroblast activity generated by the magnetic wound healing gel increases cell growth rate by about 240% and doubles their production of collagen (an essential protein for wound healing). It also improves communication with keratinocytes, promoting the formation of new blood vessels.

Each treatment involves the application of a dressing pre-loaded with a hydrogel containing skin cells for healing and magnetic particles. To maximize therapeutic results, a wireless external magnetic device is used to activate skin cells and accelerate the wound healing process. The ideal duration of magnetic stimulation is about one to two hours.

Laboratory tests have shown that treatment combined with magnetic stimulation heals diabetic wounds about three times faster than current conventional approaches. In addition, while the research focused on treating diabetic foot ulcers, the technology could potentially be used to treat a wide range of complex wounds, such as burns.

The study is published in the journal Advanced Materials.
Found a typo? Select it and press ctrl + enter Print version