The Bulletin of the American Ceramic Society is reporting on a clinical trial of a novel mesh made from borate glass nanofibers, being evaluated for treatment of venous stasis wounds. The material reportedly slows bleeding, fights infections, and promotes healing without having to use equipment like negative pressure wound devices. The material one day might become useful not only for venous stasis wounds, but also for other skin problems such as decubitus ulcers or postoperative wounds:
“Bioglass” materials aren’t particularly new to the medical field, but thus far all bioglass has been formed from a silica-based glass composition, and these primarily have been used in hard-tissue regeneration, such as bone repair.
Glass scientist Steve Jung, who helped develop the new material, says he and co-developer Delbert Day had wondered whether a different type of bioactive glass material could be used for soft-tissue regeneration. “We felt from our in-vitro studies that bioactive glasses containing boron would react to body fluids much faster than silicate glasses,” says Jung, who obtained his Ph.D from Missouri University of Science and Technology, where he conducted his research with Day, a professor at the university. “We also knew that an in-vitro study of lithium borate glasses had showed it to have beneficial effects against bacteria, such as E. coli, salmonella and staphylococcus microbes.”
Lastly, Jung and Day recall they were interested in a composition that was rich in calcium. “Previously, investigators have reported that calcium is important for wound healing. It appears to assist the migration of epidermal cells and help the body regulate the healing process of open wounds,” says Jung.
Besides composition, Jung and Day thought the structure of the material may be important to consider, too, and suspected that providing a healing “scaffold” might be beneficial. “We thought it might be advantageous to have a material that could mimic the microstructure of fibrin that forms the basis of a blood clot. We reasoned that if the structure could imitate fibrin, it might trap blood platelets and allow the formation of a wound cover that could support the healing process.”
Jung and Day finally settled on a particular borate glass composition — called 13-93B3 glass — one that Mo-Sci, a company founded by Day, already knew how to form into cottony glass fibers, 300 nanometers to 5 micrometers in diameter.