Scientists developed a new drug-free treatment for chronic diabetic wounds using hydrogel that provides oxygen to a wound, thereby reducing inflammation and accelerating healing.
Diabetic skin ulcers or wounds require long time to heal which sometimes leads to complications resulting into possible amputation in many of the cases. A team of scientists at Washington University in St. Louis developed a hydrogel that initially possess fluid form and comprises microspheres with a shell that joins the enzyme catalase. The shell covers a core having mixture of hydrogen peroxide and a water solvable polymer. According to the research published in Science Advances, the drug-free treatment accelerates the healing of chronic diabetic wound by providing oxygen to the wound.
When the hydrogel is used on a wound, it gets heated by the warmth of patient’s body and the liquid hardens into a moist, flexible gel. The microsphere reacts with the hydrogen peroxide, causing the conversion of microspheres to molecular oxygen. This procedure goes on for two weeks and during that time the released oxygen cuts down the swelling and accelerates growth of new skin cells. Moreover, the harmful chemicals which are known as reactive oxygen species (ROS) are destroyed by the hydrogel. When ROS levels are specifically high, skin cells could be killed in outcome.
When the experiment was conducted on engineered mice in labs, the skin ulcers that were treated using hydrogel were decreased to 10.7 % of their original size after 16 days. Comparing the wounds that were treated with just the gel were lessened to 30.4 % and ulcers that were left untreated shrank to 52.2 % their normal size. Results showed that using the gel accelerated the healing of the wound and inflammation was reduced.