Design Considerations for Hydrogel Wound Dressings: Strategic and Molecular Advances
SourceTissue Engineering. Part B: Reviews, 26, 3, (2020), pp. 230-248
Article / Letter to editor
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Tissue Engineering. Part B: Reviews
SubjectRadboudumc 10: Reconstructive and regenerative medicine RIMLS: Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences
Wound dressings are traditionally used to protect a wound and to facilitate healing. Currently, their function is expanding. There is an urgent need for new smart products that not only act as a protective barrier but also actively support the wound healing process. Hydrogel dressings are an example of such innovative products and typically facilitate wound healing by providing a hospitable and moist environment in which cells can thrive, while the wound can still breathe and exudate can be drained. These dressings also tend to be less painful or have a soothing effect and allow for additional drug delivery. In this review, various strategic and molecular design considerations are discussed that are relevant for developing a hydrogel into a wound dressing product. These considerations vary from material choice to ease of use and determine the dressing's final properties, application potential, and benefits for the patient. The focus of this review lies on identifying and explaining key aspects of hydrogel wound dressings and their relevance in the different phases of wound repair. Molecular targets of wound healing are discussed that are relevant when tailoring hydrogels toward specific wound healing scenarios. In addition, the potential of hydrogels is reviewed as medicine advances from a repair-based wound healing approach toward a regenerative-based one. Hydrogels can play a key role in the transition toward personal wound care and facilitating regenerative medicine strategies by acting as a scaffold for (stem) cells and carrier/source of bioactive molecules and/or drugs. Impact statement Improved wound healing will lead to a better quality of life around the globe. It can be expected that this coincides with a reduction in health care spending, as the duration of treatment decreases. To achieve this, new and modern wound care products are desired that both facilitate healing and improve comfort and outcome for the patient. It is proposed that hydrogel wound dressings can play a pivotal role in improving wound care, and to that end, this review aims to summarize the various design considerations that can be made to optimize hydrogels for the purpose of a wound dressing.
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