Chilean university launches innovative treatment for complex wounds

The Universidad Austral de Chile has developed a new bandage that regenerates tissue and is eventually absorbed by new skin growth.  

A new type of bandage has been developed by the Universidad Austral de Chile (UACh) that is affordable, can be applied to any wound in any health center, and could help avoid limb amputations.

Dubbed the Wafer-Sponge, the bandage works like artificial skin and promises new hope for victims of complex wounds and skin conditions, like diabetic foot disease and venous ulcers.

What’s more, the patches do not present any problems with biocompatibility and they don’t require surgery or anesthesia.

“The sponges are applied over wounds and produce neovascularization of the tissue – in other words, the formation of new blood capillaries,” said Miguel Concha, director of the project of UACh’s Institute of Anatomy, Histology and Pathology. “In a few months, there will be new skin, which will absorb the bandage.”

Based on all of these qualities, UACh is confident that the innovative new treatment has the potential to become a complementary solution to advanced treatment, in an efficient and economically sustainable form.

“On average, 16,000 patients in Chile don’t respond to medical treatment every year and develop complications that progressively worsen their health,” Concha said. “Of these, 3,000 patients with diabetic foot ulcers face the risk of amputation as the only solution for the gravity of their wounds.”

The bandages are currently being used in a prototype form in institutes across the country, while the university based in Chile’s southern port city of Valdivia is continuing to develop the Wafer-Sponge technology.

“We will continue working to improve these applications, creating new materials and investigating other potential derivatives,” said Concha. “This work is open to a new generation of researchers and students that want to contribute to science and medicine.”

Currently, the product is being used in the Valdivia’s Hospital Clínico Regional, the Instituto Nacional de Heridas in Santiago, and a rural family health center in the fishing village of Niebla.

This post is also available in Spanish