During the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the time from sustaining a serious conflict wound to medical evacuation and treatment was very rapid. Future conflicts may involve far longer and more complicated medical evacuation. Responding to this, we are working to develop a 'Smart Dressing' with pro-healing abilities that can be used in austere conflict and humanitarian environments.
The dressing, which can be rehydrated at the point of use, has been developed to be light and durable enough that it can easily form part of an embedded medics first aid kit. The gel dressing releases a naturally occurring protein called Decorin; which protects against scar formation. It also acts as a second skin, reducing water loss so the wound does not dry out, and creating a barrier against contamination.
The phase 1 clinical trial will recruit burns patients from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham and aims to demonstrate the safety and efficiency of the dressing. The trial will look at whether the Decorin-impregnated dressing improves healing time and reduces scarring when compared to the current 'gold standard' dressing. Patient recruitment will commence in summer 2021.