Smart dressings for soft tissue repair

Aim: To drive forwards the current state-of-the-art in dressing design, using innovative surface structuring methodologies and modification with components that will enhance healing and thereby result in superior clinical outcomes.

Background: Current dressing technologies utilise a very small number of FDA/MHRA approved polymeric materials, meaning that their potential regenerative effects are limited. The majority of dressings serve primarily to close the wound and thereby prevent infection and dehydration of the wound bed.  This is a significant missed opportunity.  It is becoming increasingly clear that modifications to surface texture and composition may influence matrix assembly superficial to the dressing.

The team hypothesise that this early-stage manipulation of matrix assembly will allow for a superior clinical outcome, reducing the likelihood of scarring and thereby maximising the likelihood of functional recovery.  Professor Grover and Dr Goldberg-Oppenheimer have already shown that parallel grooved surfaces control the orientation of matrix assembly, guiding the deposition of type I collagen, an organisation that would improve the quality of healed wounds so that they more closely resemble native tissue.

Method: The team will identify how physical and chemical modification of the dressing surface can orientate the underlying extracellular matrix. This technology has potential for the regeneration of the cornea or ligament/tendon reconstruction.

The second part will be looking into new haemostatic dressings using materials that avoid the heat generation and long-term stability issues associated with chitosan derivatives. The team will then work to identify new compositions that maintain the long-term viability of tissues following massive traumatic insult. They will do this working closely with both military and civilian surgeons.

Lastly the team will investigate novel technologies for the delivery of cell populations to manipulate the wound environment. Professor Grover’s group has developed proprietary technologies for the spreading and spraying of cells onto surfaces.

Lead researchers