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A stimuli responsive dressing for treatment of wound infection in Epidermolysis Bullosa (Kopecki 1)


Project details

Short lay summary

Large areas of open skin provide an inadequate barrier to protect against microbial penetration for patients with severe Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB) especially for those suffering from Recessive Dystrophic EB.  Hence infection and sepsis are a serious concern in management of EB. Biofilms interfere with healing by “locking” the wound into an inflammatory state that elevates the levels of proteases and reactive oxygen species, damaging proteins essential for healing. Therefore, EB wound management relies heavily on the use of antiseptic solutions, topical antimicrobials, and antimicrobial silver (Ag) dressings. The success of current treatments is limited, and high cytotoxicity is a major side effect with currently available Ag dressings. This project aims to develop and validate a novel stimuli-responsive antimicrobial dressing that is safe and only delivers Ag to wounds when required and if infection develops using preclinical animal models of infected wounds.

Scientific summary

The overarching aim of this proposal is to develop and validate a safe and effective stimuli-responsive AgNP dressing as a new treatment option for EB patients. By providing a way to disrupt and break down biofilms and a safe non-toxic “on-demand” preventative dressing which clears infection and simultaneously promotes healing, this approach promises to revolutionise the clinical management of EB wounds. This project aims to address a real clinical problem in EB wound management with potential highest impact on treatment of blistered skin. Reducing the rate of infection, sepsis, and antimicrobial resistance development in EB patients holds a great promise to significantly improve patient’s quality of life. Using latest preclinical models of wound infection, the project will assess the safety and efficacy of the new AgNP dressings to overcome the challenges underpinning current wound care in EB. By developing a safe and effective antimicrobial dressing aimed at infection control as well as promotion of healing we hope to be able to make progress towards not only managing but more importantly treating EB blisters. This project builds on the latest developments in design of novel delivery systems for management of infection using pH and temperature responsive dressings and addresses the longstanding challenges of in-vivo toxicity of current treatments, lack of antibiotic efficacy and raising antimicrobial resistance associated with current ineffective treatments.

Strategic relevance

The project will provide required preclinical data on the safety and efficacy of the developed AgNP dressing providing the critical data for design of human ethics application, phase I clinical trials with EB patients and pre-submission enquiry to FDA. If successful, this approach holds promise to eradicate the need for bleach baths and topical and systemic antibiotics while combating antimicrobial resistance in the EB community. The outcomes of the project hold promise to inform better management of EB patients, including antibiotic stewardship aimed at decreasing the rise of antimicrobial resistance among EB sufferers, promoting healing of blistered wounds and significantly improving patient’s quality of life.


antimicrobial dressing
antimicrobial resistance development
Kopecki 1
University of South Australia
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