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Chitosan fibers accelerate healing process

Source:Ringier Health     Date:2014-10-06
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MARKING a further milestone in medical nonwovens, the latest product developments from Freudenberg Nonwovens in advanced wound care consist of nonwovens made of chitosan fibers that accelerate the healing process in the treatment of chronic wounds.

Chitosan is a biopolymer derived from the shells of sea crustaceans, which stops bleeding and helps wounds heal more quickly.

Hard-to-heal wounds benefit from advances in wound care

Advanced wound care dressings to treat complex hard-to-heal wounds, e.g. diabetic foot, leg and pressure ulcers, can improve the quality of life of patients (Photo: Freudenberg Nonwovens)

For the last 40 years, the backbone of product developments from Freudenberg Nonwovens has been a highly specialized development department and long-standing customer relations, without which many innovative projects would not have been possible. Today, the product portfolio focuses on developments in advanced wound care.

Oliver Heneric, Ph.D., who heads the Medical Segment, explained the rationale behind these developments..“One goal for us is to stimulate the human body’s capacity to heal itself following an acute injury. And another is to help make life easier for people with chronic wounds, like diabetics,” said Dr. Heneric.

These goals lead to challenging specifications for wound dressings used for vein and arterial disease. Over the last few years, the company has developed new, highly complex products such as solutions featuring chitosan fibers. In combination with a hydroactive nonwoven, these fibers bring new perspectives for the healing process and are already proving their worth in practice.

A moist wound environment is much more conducive to the healing process than a dry one. This was established by the English physician George Winter in the 1960s: He discovered that wounds healed twice as fast under a moisture-regulating polymer film than was the case when treated with a dry dressing.

The benefits of this form of treatment are that no scab is formed and new tissue is encouraged to grow. In many instances, the moist wound environment halves the healing time compared with the traditional dry therapy. Antimicrobial products reduce the risk of infection for the patient.

Over the next decades developers carried out research on suitable materials and gathered experience in applications such as the treatment of chronic wounds. Today, advanced wound care is used in all industrialized nations and in a growing number of emerging economies, and Freudenberg said it has won new customers for these innovations.

Moist wound care has great potential, and the global market volume in the next 10 to 15 years is estimated at €3 billion.

Long history in medical nonwovens

Since the company began manufacturing medical nonwovens back in the 1970s, Freudenberg  has built up a highly specialized development department to come up with a steady stream of innovations.

Freudenberg innovations in advanced wound careExtensive testing and further development in the laboratory are behind each innovation from Freudenberg Nonwovens

New product applications are intended to improve the quality of life for patients and accelerate healing are the outcome of individual customer projects. From the very beginning, in-house developers have nurtured product ideas all the way to market maturity.

“We have a close and trusting collaboration with Europe’s leading medical device manufacturers and can offer customers individual product solutions based on our long-standing experience and know-how. Our medical nonwovens are marketed worldwide,” said Dr. Bernd Schlesselmann, head of Medical Nonwovens Research and Development at Freudenberg Nonwovens.

Wound pads for traditional dry wound care were one of the stepping stones on the path from the first medical nonwovens to today’s advanced wound care. The company triggered a “gentle revolution” in the 1980s when it launched wound pads made of nonwovens instead of knitted products for use in plasters. An antimicrobial finish was added from the 1990s. Thanks to the untiring efforts of the in-house development team, the present-day product range includes all commonly-used active ingredients.

Freudenberg sells its medical nonwovens all over the world. The most recent additions to the product program include nonwovens and composite fibrous films approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for transdermal applications. These products are manufactured in Japan by the long-standing joint-venture partner JVC (Japan Vilene Company) and marketed worldwide, primarily in the USA but also increasingly on markets in Europe. The transdermal approach to the delivery of medication is more beneficial to the human body because it bypasses the body’s metabolism.

In addition to a presence in Japan, Freudenberg has operations in China, India, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Viet Nam.

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