'Early detection of an incipient wound infection is a challenge for the attending physician , since its early diagnosis allows the timely initiation of treatment, thus reducing the severity of the disease . Currently, however, wound infection is not diagnosed until becoming already evident. As a consequence, the treatment of the patient is further complicated and more likely to have a negative outcome4. Often wounds are treated with antibiotics before even the infection appears, leading to overdoses and development of bacterial resistance to antibiotics.
Considering that optimal efficiency is reached when a material serves multiple functions without compromise, consortium partners have discovered the means to convert wound dressings into a diagnostic tool capable to inform both patient and therapist about the wound status, thus directing towards the following therapeutic step. The proposed functional materials include a real time diagnostic reaction that positively influences the wound healing due to the timely intervention to treat infection or proteolytic stasis in the wound
The novel InFact technology will be translated into a low-cost, real-time diagnostic tool as a constituent part of a wound dressing material, i.e. the 'triple-P' materials concept:
- Protective - by a decoy substrate for destructive proteases
- Predictive – providing a cumulative wound status signal to predict the infection transition
- Proactive - changing the dressing according to a signal, rather than on a schedule base, will provide therapeutic response in time, and not too late.
More specifically, the functional materials (e.g. absorbent fibres and hydrocolloid pads) will incorporate immobilized substrates for three enzymes: myeloperoxidase, lysozyme and elastase. Upon infection, these enzymatic activities are highly elevated in wound fluids, and can be detected by the color change of the functional materials, visible via a window in the dressing.'