Friday, 05 June 2020 11:14

Southern Cross team develops tech to heal wounds faster without stitches

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Southern Cross team develops tech to heal wounds faster without stitches Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay

Scientists from the Southern Cross University have developed new technology that may be able to heal wounds in days, rather than weeks, without the need for stitches.

The Rapid Repair wound dressing technology changes the way molecules repair themselves, enabling skin to heal quicker, and potentially removing the need for stitches, staples of glue in many cases.

The project is led by Dr Rosemary Craig and includes biomedical researcher Dr Nedeljka Rosic and business consultant Gerard Criss. They recently presented the technology to a NASA's Ignite the Night iTech Event panel online, and won the round to move into the August semi-finals.

Dr Craig got the idea while recovering from a surgical procedure, when she developed a device that appeared to heal full thickness skin cuts much sooner than usual.

The team has started clinical trials and developed the product's commercial potential through repeated successes in CSIRO's ON Accelerate program.

"NASA is already planning for the future including the 'Moon to Mars' mission and hosts this competition series to hear about latest scientific advances and innovative space ideas," said Dr Craig.

"The panel of NASA scientists said they thought our rapid healing product would be very useful and valuable in space, especially as communication back to earth can often have a 10-minute delay and this is such a simple treatment to apply.

"We really are over the moon to win this part of the competition. It's pretty unexpected in a way as the quality of the other innovations was extremely high.

"To have NASA support and promote our product is amazing. We've had a lot of support from CSIRO to progress our product to market, which makes our product a realistic proposition worth backing."

A pilot study is in progress at Lismore campus' Southern Cross University Health Clinic where Dr Craig is a practising and it has had promising outcomes. Plans are afoot for further clinical trials along with the University of Queensland with a much greater dataset.

"During our clinical trial on skin cancer wounds, we were able to remove patients' stitches after just one day. These trials are showing this novel dressing works on all skin types, including on aged skin and people with diabetes, and can minimise scarring," said Dr Craig.

"Future trials plan to heal cuts and wounds without using stitches at all.

"It is simple and painless to apply, using a non-invasive device with a long shelf life. The potential impact of this technology is enormous as it not only increases the rate of repair but significantly changes the way wound healing is understood."

The Rapid Repair wound dressing has been entered on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods and will be able to register with the American FDA once it has a bigger dataset.

Southern Cross University head of the School of Health and Human Sciences, Professor Julie Jomeen, congratulated the team, saying their win was an "amazing achievement and the school is excited to see this innovative research develop and deliver real impact in wound care".


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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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