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University to lead ‘game changing’ research into healing chronic wounds


Pseudomonas aeruginosa colony biofilm on Congo red nutrient agar

Project will help diabetics and could transform medical treatment across the board

The University of Bradford is to lead a major project which will hopefully lead to a “game changer” in the treatment of infected wounds.

In particular, it will help people with diabetes.

The work is being carried out in conjunction with consumer goods giant Unilever and 5D Health Protection Group and will involve the focus on finding ways to break up the natural ‘biofilm’ which bacteria create to protect themselves against things like antibiotics.

The grant from the National Biofilms Innovation Centre is for £25,047.61 with the aim of “preventing, detecting, managing or engineering biofilms”. 

Professor Stephen Rimmer, head of chemistry and biosciences in the Faculty of Life Sciences at the University of Bradford explained: “Biofilm is the stuff bacteria make to live in and it protects them against treatments such as antibiotics. Our work will focus on looking at ways to break up that biofilm, essentially to make them more exposed so they are then more susceptible to drugs used to kill them. Our job will be to create a delivery system for the drugs using polymers or hydrogels.

“This project is important because of the collaboration between Unilever and 5D Health Protection Group. It’s a really important area in the fight against infected wounds, particularly people with diabetes, whose wounds are often more difficult to treat. This project will hopefully take the technology from Unilever and 5D Health Protection Group to reality."

The advanced wound care market has grown from $9.9bn in 2014 to $14.9bn today, with wound dressings accounting for 47.8 per cent of the market share. The aim is to produce a prototype by December 2021.

The project brief states: “The aim of this project is to develop a [low cost] wound dressing hydrogel prototype combining a ‘game changing’ synergistic combination of enzymes designed to breakdown biofilm in a wound and a smart triggered releasing antibiofilm technology.

“Chronic wounds are a life-threatening global issue and a common occurrence in an ageing population. Clinical research has reported that annually over 18 million patients globally suffer from chronic wounds. Of these chronic wounds, over 50 per cent will develop a localised infection with potential to develop into a general infection.

“It is only recently evidence of biofilms and the role they play in non-healing chronic wounds and infection has been clinically observed; reported now to be found in over 80 per cent of non-healing chronic wounds.”


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