Role of biomaterials is expected to grow

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Biomaterials likely will play a larger role in helping chronic wounds heal among diabetics, according to experts who spoke at the European Conference on Biomaterials in Dublin.

This will happen as therapeutic genes are delivered to wound sites via biomaterial-based delivery systems, they noted.

Researchers at the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) at NUI Galway said they hope that technology-based applications under development will reduce the rate of limb amputation and morbidity among people with diabetes.

Diabetes-related chronic wounds and subsequent lower limb amputation are major causes of morbidity in diabetic patients, incurring enormous medical, economic and social costs. Unfortunately, rigorous treatment regimes have often found only modest success in reducing amputation rates.

Diabetes fights wound healing in two ways: genetically and functionally. This molecular disarray is not fully understood, so treatment regimes aimed at rectifying the genetic problem are needed, researchers noted. They are now investigating the genetic dysregulation that also combines novel and complementary genes to normalize wound healing.