Diabetics who suffer from hard-to-heal open wounds may soon have help in the form of a cottony glass material developed at Missouri University of Science and Technology.
The glass fiber material could become a source of relief for diabetics fighting infections. It also could be used by battlefield medics or emergency medical technicians to treat wounds in the field.
In a recent clinical trial, the material was found to speed the healing of venous stasis wounds in eight of the 12 patients enrolled in the trial.
The material — a nanofiber borate glass — was developed in the laboratories of Missouri S&T’s Graduate Center for Materials Research and the Center for Bone and Tissue Repair and Regeneration, according to Delbert E. Day, PhD, curators’ professor emeritus of ceramic engineering and a pioneer in the development of bioglass materials. Day and his former student, Steve Jung, developed the material over the past 5 years.
Other bioactive glass materials are formed from silica-based glass compositions and have been used primarily for hard-tissue regeneration, such as bone repair. But Day and Jung experimented with borate glass, which early lab studies showed reacted to fluids much faster than silicate glasses.
“The borate glasses react with the body fluids very quickly,” Day stated in a press release. “They begin to dissolve and release elements into the body that stimulate the body to generate new blood vessels. This improves the blood supply to the wound, allowing the body’s normal healing processes to take over.”
Clinical trials at Phelps County Regional Medical Center in Rolla began in the fall of 2010 with 13 subjects. One dropped out early in the process. All have diabetes and had wounds that had been unhealed for more than a year.
Day said the wounds can heal within a few weeks to several months after the material is applied, depending on wound severity. “Within a few days, most patients see an improvement,” Day said.
The material is produced at Mo-Sci Corp., a glass technology company founded by Day.