The state-of-the-art material, located somewhere between solid and fluid, will heal wounds with much less pain and reduce the risk of life-threatening infections.

Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Josh Reynolds / Washington Post

Scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital have developed a breakthrough bioengineering burn treatment that allows wounds to heal with less pain and reduces the risk of potentially life-threatening infections. A treatment that uses a material known as a hydrogel was announced next to the hospital on Monday.

This the most modern biomaterial, the first of its kind, is particularly useful for re-dressing wounds in patients who have experienced second-degree burns. It is based on an environmentally friendly, non-toxic approach that aims to eliminate many of the potentially harmful chemicals used in traditional wound dressings.

Hydrogels are usually placed directly on the wound and covered with gauze or other protective dressings. They contain a network of polymers linked together to form a mesh of highly absorbent material. The idea is to create an environment around the wound that retains water. As MGH said, humid environments like these accelerate wound healing.

Most current dressings adhere to the wound and need to be removed, sometimes surgically, resulting in “delayed healing and traumatization of newly formed tissue, not to mention excruciating pain for the patient,” O. Berk Mouth of the Center for Engineering in Medicine and Surgery at MGH, said in a statement .

To find a new solution, researchers at MGH teamed up with a team at Tufts University. Their goal was to develop a hydrogel that a physician could dissolve quickly and on demand, reducing the need for painkillers, opioids, and longer hospital stays that could cause significant dents in a patient’s wallet.

According to MGH, the new hydrogel they created can be dissolved in less than five minutes with a solution that breaks down its molecular structure without any negative effects on nearby skin cells. The material is somewhere between solid and liquid, mixing the properties of both.

The first time the treatment is applied, doctors can create a protective wound barrier in just 15 seconds. The hospital said current hydrogel preparation methods are long-lasting and potentially dangerous.

“Hydrogel dressings for fast and healthy burn wound healing have been around for years, but they are far from ideal and are an area of ‚Äč‚Äčintense research by scientists and bioengineers,” said Ayse Aslihan Gokaltun, surgery instructor at MGH and Harvard Medical School, in a statement.

The newly developed hydrogel not only offers a number of benefits to doctors and patients, but may soon be available in the wider consumer market.

“The simple and quick method we developed to synthesize and assemble the hydrogel components will allow for large-scale production and low-cost commercialization,” Tufts scientist Ayse Asatekin said in a statement. “And that will pave the way to translating this groundbreaking science into real therapeutic application in an area where there is still no recognized standard of care.”

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#Scientists #MGH #bioengineers #developing #kind #burn #treatment

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