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NEWS | Nov. 15, 2016

NAMRU-San Antonio research provides platform for next generation antimicrobial wound dressing

Naval Medical Research Unit San Antonio

The Naval Medical Research Unit San Antonio, or NAMRU-SA, recently published data in the Journal of Nanomaterials demonstrating an electrospun chitosan/polyethylene oxide, or CS/PEO, scaffold is a promising candidate for wound dressing applications due to excellent antibacterial characteristics  and biocompatibility.


“Battlefield wounds present a unique challenge due to extended evacuation times and non-endemic infections that often complicate the healing process,” said Tony Yuan, NAMRU-SA researcher and lead author. “Ideal management of cutaneous wounds is predicated on the minimization of infection at the site of injury.”


“Development of the active antibacterial scaffold presented in this study is critical in providing a platform for a new generation antimicrobial wound dressings,” added Capt. Jonathan Stahl, principal investigator and head of NAMRU-SA’s Maxillofacial Injury and Disease Department.


Results showed the fabricated CS/PEO composite scaffolds had fiber diameters in the nanometer range, which increased with decreasing CS concentration. Higher CS concentrations contributed to an increase in both tensile strength and elasticity. The degradation of the scaffold demonstrated a biphasic profile that was unaffected by changes in concentration of polymer. 

Additionally, a higher concentration of CS was successful in inhibiting both growth and attachment of staphylococcus aureus bacteria. 

“This property could play an important role in wound dressing applications, where infection is often introduced through attachment and infiltration of bacteria during dressing changes,” Yuan said. 

Finally, the scaffolds had no effect on mammalian fibroblasts, which synthesize the structural framework for tissues and play a critical role in wound healing.


NAMRU-SA researchers have demonstrated CS/PEO scaffolds are well suited to serve as a foundation for the development of a next generation bioactive wound dressing with the 2:1 mass ratio of CS/PEO having the most antibacterial properties.