Innovative hybrid materials useful in the manufacture of dressings for the treatment of the diabetic foot

project funded by the National Science Centre (OPUS 16, UMO-2018/31/B/ST8/02760).

The aim of the project is to design, synthesise and test the properties of new, multicomponent hybrid materials useful in the treatment of wounds that are difficult to heal, including diabetic foot syndrome, based on a set of selected biologically active peptides immobilised on a polysaccharide matrix, derived from proteins that affect all stages of the wound healing process in the living organism.

The final hybrid materials will stimulate all stages of the wound healing process, i.e. provide holistic tools for the treatment of defects. The materials will also meet all the criteria of a unified concept for the treatment of chronic wounds – the TIME strategy (Tissue debridement, Infection and inflammation control, Moisture balance, Epidermination stimulation).

The formation of wounds that are difficult to heal most often concerns lesions of the lower limbs. These include wounds of vascular origin (venous ulcers, ischaemic wounds caused by atherosclerosis), diabetic foot syndrome and decubitus ulcers. Up to 3 million people in Poland may be affected by diabetes. Diabetic foot syndrome is one of the most common causes of hospitalisation among diabetic complications and affects about 4-10% of patients diagnosed with diabetes. It accounts for about 5% of chronic wounds; in Poland, the problem affects 10% of people with diabetes. The risk of ulceration in a person with diabetes is between 12 and 25%. It is also the most common non-traumatic cause of amputation in the lower limbs. The risk of amputation in the diabetic population compared to the general population is up to 30-40 times higher. An estimated 20 per cent of hospital admissions for amputation are for patients diagnosed with diabetes with peripheral circulation complications.

As a result of the synergy between a selected set of biologically active peptides and polysaccharides, hybrid materials useful for the treatment of hard-to-heal wounds that affect haemostasis, inflammation, proliferation and tissue re-modelling will be obtained.

The materials obtained will have a suitable three-dimensional structure, mechanical strength, flexibility. In addition, due to their structure (natural compounds), the final hybrid materials are degraded only to natural compounds in the biodegradation process: amino acids, monosaccharides, oligopeptides, oligosaccharides. The use of both polypeptides and polysaccharides as components of materials for tissue regeneration scaffolds ensures complete biocompatibility.

The impact of the research results on scientific development will be multifaceted due to the interdisciplinary nature of the project. The problem of ‘repairing’ defects in the human body has always aroused and continues to arouse the interest of scientists and research centres, as this area is considered to represent the future of regenerative medicine. The main impact of the project will of course be in the area of regenerative medicine, but research in the fields of organic chemistry, natural compound chemistry, materials engineering, biochemistry, biology and medicine will be necessary to achieve it. In addition to the main areas indicated above, the results obtained can also be implemented in other areas of medical science, pharmaceuticals, design of new drugs, but the impact on the areas of social sciences should also be considered. Most importantly, however, the problem of ‘repairing’ the defects of the human body, especially the regeneration of the nervous system, is of great social significance for the development of civilisation and sociology, representing the hope of a better future for a significant number of people in the world.

The project is carried out by a scientific consortium comprising:

– Institute of Organic Chemistry of the Technical University of Lodz,
– Medical University of Lodz
– Łukasiewicz Research Network – Textile Institute.