01 Sep 2015 Science

Development of healing dressings produced by electrospinning incorporating medicinal herbal extracts

The textile industry has constantly innovated and presented functional products that respond to market needs. A current requirement is the development of bioactive textiles to be used as medical devices, in particular dressings that provide mechanical protection at the same time being able to facilitate or even to promote the healing process and ensure a better recovery of the integrity  of injured and/or sensitive skin. The incidence of chronic wounds caused by some diseases, the aging population and infections by multiresistant microorganisms are major challenges today. Thus, the use of biodegradable and biocompatible polymers, as well as microbial polysaccharides in the development of new biomedical/hospital textiles are excellent candidates due to the unique characteristics they present.

Thus, our objective is to implement a new and promising strategy to create nanofibers-based structures produced by electrospinning in order to develop dressings with higher specificity, thus contributing to improve the quality of life of patients.

The nanofiber-based structures produced by electrospinning comprise properties that promote the healing of injured tissue process and allow for the incorporation of bioactive compounds.

Thus, in order to improve healing and to prevent infection, the design of dressings by electrospinning incorporating natural bioactive compounds derived from plants as a source for new therapeutic agents has proved to be advantageous when compared with the commonly used synthetic bioactive agents. However, despite these compounds possessed lower incidence of adverse reactions, its application is limited, and its stability may be affected due to possible chemical and enzymatic degradation, loss of volatilization and thermal decomposition. Therefore, the incorporation of these compounds in emulsions can be a viable alternative to the structural integrity while the bioactivity is maintained.

Thus, despite the use of plant extracts in bioactive textile is still scarcely reported, their incorporation by emulsion electrospinning in polymer mixtures for applying in healing dressings, for the prevention and treatment of affected tissues infections is a new and promising area for textile materials with specific features for applications in healthcare.

This project is part of the Programa Doutoral de Materiais e Processamentos Avançados (AdvaMTech) and is withint the framework of the doctoral studies of Claudia Mouro under the guidance of Professor Isabel Cristina Gouveia and Professor Raul Fangueiro.



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