The aim of the BacterioSafe consortium is to construct, test and develop a unique active wound dressing, which incorporates novel colourimetric sensor and active therapeutic processes for detecting and counteracting pathogenic bacteria in wounds. The initial focus will be burn wounds, but the application to other types of wounds is intended. The inspiration of this project is the natural nono-biological mechanism of bacterial attack of healthy cells. The outer cell walls are ruptured by an array of protein toxins, lipases and other enzymes secreted by these bacteria. We mimic this natural process by using these pathogenic factors to liberate engineered and biologically derived antibiotics/antimicrobials and indicating molecules from highly designed surface immobilized nanocapsules. These are immobilised on currently available wound dressing materials such as polypropylene or polyethylene non-wovens using plasma assisted processes. This will minimize the need for frequent traumatic changes of wound dressing and will provide a simple optical indicator of bacterial infection. This is particularly critical in burn wounds where delayed detection of bacterial infection can result in patient death. The project will cover both the research into the basic mechanism of device operation, the development of prototype devices and the process engineering which is necessary to prepare it for large scale industrial production.
|(a) Non-woven polypropylene textile material used in burn dressings. Plasma modified with reactive chemical groups. Nanocapsules sprayed on and bound to fibres.||(b) PEG stabilised nanocapsules containing "switched off" dye and antibiotic/antimicrobial. PEG helps prevent non-specific attack from non-bacterial enzymes in wound exudate.|
|(c) Pathogenic bacteria release toxins and lipases which damage nanocapsules shell.||(d) Nanocapsules release signalling molecules and antibiotic/antimicrobials.|