Students at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-M) have developed a new wound-dressing material using a graphene-based component that will be useful for people suffering from diabetes. The research at the institute has been carried out with the aim to help diabetic patients as they suffer from wounds that do not heal as rapidly as in the body of a normal and healthy individual, leading to chronic non-healing wounds that can further result in serious complications. This then becomes the case when amputations become necessary. The dressing material has been developed since the treatment of such chronic non-healing wounds is important and it is also a major clinical challenge.
The institute said that they wanted to exploit the property of graphene-based materials of improving blood vessel formation at certain concentrations to prepare an inexpensive wound dressing. They further said that the psyllium-reduced graphene oxide nanocomposite that was prepared by them showed exciting results in animal studies. A convex lens was used by the researchers to focus sunlight on graphene oxide to obtain reduced graphene oxide.
“We hope this is the first step towards developing inexpensive wound dressings using graphene-based materials for clinical use,” said Vignesh Muthuvijayan, an Assistant Professor at the Department of Biotechnology. He added, “Thereafter, they loaded these reduced graphene oxide dispersions into a plant carbohydrate polymer (psyllium) solution to obtain wound dressing scaffolds. Fibroblast cells, responsible for wound healing, were used to evaluate the toxicity and bioactivity of these scaffolds on the cell attachment, migration and proliferation.”
Muthuvijayan further went on to say, “these newly developed scaffolds provide a suitable tissue-friendly environment for cells and subsequently improve cell proliferation and attachment.” These scaffolds are easy to prepare, inexpensive, and show excellent healing properties, he said, adding that the material acts as a good wound dressing and helps in accelerated healing of normal and diabetic wounds.
According to the results of the trial that was done by the institute, normal wounds treated with the dressings healed in 16 days as compared to 23 days in untreated normal wounds. Similarly, diabetic wounds treated with the dressings healed in 20 days as against 26 days in untreated diabetic wounds.