Design of Enabling-Regenerative Materials | 2 Mers Seas Zeeën


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Design of Enabling-Regenerative Materials

Priority Axis

Technological and Social Innovation

Specific objective

Technological Innovation

Lead partner

University of Brighton


Date de début


Date de fin


Project budget

2 724 815

ERDF amount

1 634 889

ERDF rate


    À propos

    Common challenge

    DERMA will address the common challenge of improving the quality of life of the increasing elderly population of the 2 Seas area. By 2025, more than 20% of Europeans will be 65 or older, with a large increase in those over 80. We will tackle the problem of advanced age (or illness)-associated inflammation, infection and ulceration of the skin which costs the EU €6.5 billion per year. Dermal ulcers are a source of physical discomfort, can lead to further medical complications, and can liberate offensive odours that are distressing to the patient and may lead to social isolation and depression.

    Main Achievements

    The DERMA project is developing novel dressing materials that can be used for the improved management of chronic dermal ulcers. In such wounds, where the dermal tissue is broken down by infection and inflammation, offensive odours are produced that are embarrassing for the patient, and these can lead to social isolation. Chronic wounds may also be subjected to a series of underlying infections that the body does not easily eradicate and that require clinical intervention. To meet these twin challenges of malodour production and infection, the project is developing two types of materials; the first to manage unpleasant odours from a wound, and the second to visually indicate the emergence of a developing infection.

    The materials to combat wound malodour have used activated carbon (AC) powder as the active ingredient. One form is a thin film made by combining AC with agarose from seaweed that has been treated to be flexible and elastic and thus able to easily fit with the contours of the skin. This material has been augmented to have a fluid handling capability to make it suitable for use on sloughy wounds which can otherwise cause damaging tissue maceration. 

    AC for odour control has also been incorporated into very fine, electrospun fibres. By presenting the AC in this way, a relatively large surface area for odour removal will be achieved, making the odour removal process very efficient. These fibres are also highly water absorbent, of benefit for wound moisture control. These fibres also have a remarkable ability to release antimicrobial agents over extended periods, meaning that, in the form of a wound dressing, they could potentially be worn for longer than current antimicrobial forms.

    The odour capture studies have been augmented with the use of an electronic nose. The device can be used to identify and quantify odours. It is being evaluated for the detection of specific bacteria within foot ulcers, thereby informing the material development work, where the breakthrough of relevant odours is quantified. 

    To indicate the presence of a bacterial infection, candidate polymers and colour-changing indicator dyes have been selected. The dyes change colour when exposed to growing bacteria. Work is focused on controlling the release of the dyes from the thin film and electrospun forms. An interesting development is the finding that one form of the dye has been found to inhibit the growth of Staphylococcus aureus, an important bacterium of chronic wounds.



    University of Portsmouth

    Universiteit Gent