Since wound care is such an important part of medicine, research is continually being done to find the best methods to promote the healing process. Tissue regeneration requires certain conditions; Researchers are always looking to identify the best methods and materials to meet these conditions and create the optimum environment for a wound.
Due to their molecular structure, hydrogels have been able to provide most of the conditions needed, except for one – an alkaline environment. Made up of a network of polymers, hydrogels can absorb a tremendous amount of water. Therefore, they can both absorb fluid from the wound and provide moisture to it, creating effective conditions for healing.
However, most hydrogels are slightly acidic or have a neutral pH. Until recently, slightly acidic was thought to be beneficial for healing, but newer research has shown that is not the case. What’s better for cells that heal the skin is an alkaline pH.
Scientists in Japan have been able to create an alkaline hydrogel without the use of specialized equipment. This makes it possible to be created in any medical setting. The method mixes calcium carbonate, potassium alginate, with carbonated water. This mixture produces a gel whose pH is alkaline due to the volatilization of the carbon dioxide. The resulting material retains its transparency making it possible to visually assess the wound as it is healing.
Future possibilities for this gel also include being used as a drug carrier if it is possible to control the release of a drug held inside the gel.
The Polymers Technology Center works with companies to discover and develop new materials, processes and products using polymers. We are amazed at the new scientific developments surrounding the polymers industry. Contact us to learn how we can help your company, whether your need is pilot scale or full production. We are located at 8900 Research Drive, Charlotte, NC 28262. Call (704) 602-4106 or Email us, we look forward to hearing from you.