Students at IIT Madras have developed a wound dressing material for diabetic patients using graphene-based components.
Wounds in diabetic patients do not heal as rapidly as in a normal and healthy individual. This leads to chronic non-healing wounds that can result in serious complications which make amputations necessary. Treatment of such chronic non-healing wounds is still a major clinical challenge.
“We wanted to exploit the property of graphene-based materials of improving blood vessel formation at certain concentrations to prepare an inexpensive wound dressing. The psyllium-reduced graphene oxide nanocomposite that we prepared showed exciting results in animal studies.
“We hope this is the first step towards developing inexpensive wound dressings using graphene-based materials for clinical use,” said Vignesh Muthuvijayan, Assistant Professor, Department of Biotechnology.
The researchers used a convex lens to focus sunlight on graphene oxide to obtain reduced graphene oxide.
“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.
“These newly developed scaffolds provide a suitable tissue-friendly environment for cells and subsequently improve cell proliferation and attachment,” Muthuvijayan added.
As per the trials, 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.
“These scaffolds are easy to prepare, inexpensive, and show excellent healing properties. Thus, the material acts as a good wound dressing and helps in accelerated healing of normal and diabetic wounds,” he said.