Title : Synthesis and characterization of biosynthetic cellulose based hydrogels with the potential wound dressing applications to tackle chronic wounds
Wound healing is a complex physiological process and can fail to progress through the timely sequence of healing stages due to many underlying factors, including the invasion of various bacterial and fungal pathogens. Despite an improved understanding of the wound healing process, as well as a plethora of proprietary wound care products, the management of such wounds is still a challenge. There are cases reported in literature where patients have been living with chronic wounds for several months, due to the patients’ unresponsiveness to the treatment regimens. In the current project, advanced hydrogels with wound healing properties were developed for such wounds.
Bacterial cellulose (BC), a biosynthetic cellulose based hydrogel, was produced as a matrix and loaded with natural antimicrobial agents to produce dressings. Silver is well-known for its broad-spectrum antimicrobial properties. In this project, with the aim of prolonged and controlled release, a set of hydrogels were produced by loading silver zeolites, as an antimicrobial agent, into the BC matrix. These hydrogels demonstrated broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity over a prolonged period, compared to silver nitrate-loaded BC hydrogels. The study was extended by using curcumin, a natural healing agent with antimicrobial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Water soluble curcumin-cyclodextrin complex was synthesized and loaded in the BC matrix to produce a new set of hydrogels with potential wound healing applications. Curcumin-loaded BC hydrogels displayed favorable qualities as part of a biocompatible system. With the aim of adding benefits of silver and curcumin, while making use of the nanotherapeutics platform, the novel green chemistry technique of silver nanoparticle synthesis was developed using silver and water-soluble curcumin-cyclodextrin complex. These curcumin-reduced silver nanoparticles were characterized and loaded in the BC matrix to produce hydrogels with wound management applications.
All the hydrogels were characterized based around their potential wound dressing applications. These hydrogels exhibited promising antimicrobial and in vitro physiochemical properties. The findings are published in peer-reviewed journals enabling the scientific and clinical community globally to evaluate the clinical applications of these hydrogels for wound management.