Researchers at the Faculty of Chemistry of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) develop new materials for burn wounds healing. In Mexico, 120,000 people suffer from burns yearly, not counting unreported medical services.
In addition to skin grafts, in Mexico skin covers made of polymers are used to repair damaged skin by burns, most of them caused by boiling water in the kitchen, electrocution in workplaces and friction, as caused by motorcycle accidents.
Gerardo Leyva Gómez, researcher at the UNAM Faculty of Chemistry, explained that eventually the new materials they are developing could replace skin covers to promote healing patients, mostly children aged four to six years. As they are significantly cheaper than skin covers (to cover an area such as the chest, skin covers cost about MX$40,000 – US$2,100), these new materials in the form of gel would be beneficial in low-income areas with high burns incidence, like: Guerrero, Oaxaca and Chiapas.
For economic and cultural issues, boiling water burns are more prevalent in rural areas.
In a statement, the UNAM said the new healing materials are developed by Dr. Leyva Gomez et al, from natural and synthetic polymers, not carrying pharmaceuticals. In addition, they are accessible, biodegradable and biocompatible.
By the method of gamma radiation by cobalt 60, Dr. Leyva has generated crosslinked chitosan and poloxamer 407 to obtain one of the new materials for healing.
This material, which is already used in other pharmaceutical forms to develop drugs, has been experimentally applied (in collaboration with René Abarca Buis, the National Institute of Rehabilitation) in wounds of animals with good results.
Materials derived from both, chitosan and poloxamer 407 have achieved great healing quality. They have also worked against bacteria that can affect healing at an early stage.
Source: La Jornada