Nanoglue — making real impact in the skin transplant industry
Every year, millions of people all over the world are in need of a skin transplant. Unfortunately, c. 10% of these transplants fail. The following article offers a short introduction to skin transplants and into how Nanoglue improves their efficacy.
What is skin replacement?
The skin is the largest organ of the body consisting of epidermis and dermis. Skin grafting is a fairly modern adjunct to surgical therapy. A graft is defined as any free tissue that is transplanted. A skin graft is the separation of all or a portion of the skin from its donor site and local blood supply, followed by a transplantation to a recipient site. The transplanted skin subsequently relies entirely on the recipient site’s blood supply for survival.
When is a skin replacement needed?
A skin graft is placed over an area of the body where skin has been lost. Common reasons for a skin graft include:
· deep burns · skin infections · large, open wounds · bed sores or other ulcers on the skin that have not healed well · skin cancer surgery
What happens after the skin has been replaced?
The graft should start developing blood vessels and should connect to the skin around it within 36 hours. However, if these blood vessels do not begin to form shortly after the surgery, it could be a sign that your body is rejecting the graft.
Sometimes the skin graft does not survive the transfer to the new site. This usually becomes clear within the first two weeks after the procedure. It can happen for a variety of reasons, including the accumulation of blood or fluid underneath the graft, and/or wound infection. If this happens, your dermatologist will inform you what further treatment is required — a repeat skin graft procedure may be required, or the wound may be dressed regularly and left to slowly heal on its own. It is quite normal for the graft to appear dark and crusted on the surface when the dressings are removed early on. The harsh reality is that c. 10% of skin grafts fail, leading to harmful infections of the wound.
Why Nanoglue is needed
The timing is right: there has been little improvement in the past 30 years in the skin transplantation field and there is an increasing need due to the rise of diabetes and an ageing society. There are several market trends like bioactive dressings and tissue-engineered skin substitutes. As a bioactive tissue adhesive, Nanoglue complements those products. Other approaches to regeneration, e.g. using growth factors, are too expensive for routine application and struggle with allergic reactions.
Nanoglue’s metal oxide nanoparticles express adhesive forces due to their high surface energy. Our studies have shown that they adhere to a variety of biological tissues. Biologically active materials, such as bioglass or ceria have additional benefits apart from bonding tissue together. We were able to unite the unique properties of these two materials in hybrid nanoparticles that are antioxidant, antimicrobial, hemostatic and angiogenic. These properties have been confirmed in vivo.
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