From the Series
A group of students from the American University of Cairo (AUC) have designed Nano Ebers, a dressing that accelerates the rate at which wounds suffered by diabetics heal.
Diabetics characteristically suffer from poor or delayed healing compared to non-suffers because of a number of factors: narrow blood vessels in different parts of the body, low blood circulation and an inefficient immune system. Even the smallest of open wounds can become severely infected.
The AUC students designed a method to speed up the healing process – silver and honey-laced dressings. Nano Ebers is the first advanced dressing on the market; it is an electrospun nanofiber made from an unusually high concentration of honey and chitosan, a sugar that is obtained from the hard outer skeleton of shellfish.
The students have also incorporated silver nanoparticles into the nanofibres. Silver nanofibres increase collagen production, which helps the skin heal faster.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Technology Review reports that through an electro-spinning process, the anti-bacterial properties in nanofibers increase tremendously, making it close to an antibiotic.
The high honey concentration and nanofiber structure enhances the antimicrobial effect because the Nano Ebers material is air-permeable meaning it draws fluids away from the wound while still protecting the wound.
Compared to current products, the Nano Ebers dressing has enhanced antimicrobial effects and retails at an estimated one-half of the cost of current advanced wound dressings. Nano Ebers is the first advanced dressing in the market made from biodegradable nanofibers.
In the future, Nano Ebers will contain additional natural antimicrobials and wound healing materials that show positive properties when it comes to wound healing. The students report that the nanofibre and honey combination kills bacteria, preventing diabetic wounds from getting infected.
Nano Ebers competed at the MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Competition and placed third in the competition.