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03-31-2007, 05:57 AM
Oxygen-concentrating Wound Dressing Delivers A Breath Of Fresh Air To Hard-to Heal Wounds

Archimed, a Bedford (UK) based biotechnology firm, has today announced the launch of a new range of oxygen-concentrating hydrogel wound dressings - Oxyzyme™ - that transfer dissolved oxygen to the surface of hard-to-heal chronic wounds, such as ulcers or post-operative wounds.

Oxygen is essential to life. In wound healing it plays a key role by supporting tissue regeneration and repair, by inhibiting anaerobic bacteria and supporting the body's natural defence mechanisms.

Prof. Paul Davis, founder of Archimed said: "The complex wound healing process demands large amounts of energy, which equates to a large demand for oxygen. The importance of adequate oxygen levels during the wound healing process is well recognised. Traditional wisdom is that wounds need to breathe, but leaving the wound open to the air can cause excessive drying and crusting (scab formation) which can delay epithelialisation and exclude oxygen from the wound. Keeping the wound covered and moist helps prevent this, but can restrict the wound's access to the oxygen levels needed to support healing. Oxyzyme™ resolves this dilemma by creating a moist wound healing environment that is oxygen-rich, to assist the body's natural healing process."

Oxygen has been used to aid wound healing for a number of years, primarily through Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBO). However for various reasons it has not been widely adopted. Oxyzyme™ wound dressings are as easy to use as conventional dressings, are comfortable for the patient, and provide oxygen balance where it is needed most.

Oxyzyme™ uses advanced biochemistry to work like a molecular pump, drawing in oxygen from the atmosphere and transporting it to the surface of the wound. Oxyzyme™ has two components: an advanced hydrogel sheet containing glucose that is placed directly onto the wound, and an enzyme sheet that contains glucose oxidase, a natural enzyme found, for example, in honey.

The biochemistry is triggered when the enzyme sheet is placed on top of the glucose-containing gel. Atmospheric oxygen at the surface of the enzyme sheet is trapped by the glucose oxidase and converted to a low level of hydrogen peroxide. This creates an oxygen gradient that allows more oxygen to be drawn into the dressing. The hydrogen peroxide is freely soluble in the aqueous medium of the dressing (unlike oxygen) and can readily diffuse to the wound, where it is instantly converted back to oxygen. Some of the hydrogen peroxide also reacts with iodide within the dressing, to produce a small amount of iodine (evidenced by the colour of the dressing changing to amber or gold). Iodine has long been known for its antibacterial properties, and helps to produce an environment that is hostile to bacteria.

Clinical trials in 2005, conducted by Prof. Gary Sibbald (head of the Toronto Wound Healing Centers, Canada, and a world leading authority in wound care) found that long term wounds, some of which had been present for a year or more, showed visible improvement in just four weeks. Further trials in the UK (in Cardiff and Aberdeen) in 2006 showed that two thirds of hard-to-heal wounds significantly improved after six weeks.

Prof. Sibbald said: "The Oxyzyme™ platform is a fundamentally new approach to moist wound healing and shows exciting promise in difficult to heal chronic wounds."

Archimed is the Wound Care Division of Insense Limited, a spin-out company from Unilever plc. The company was founded in 2002 by Prof. Paul Davis, a leader in the field of enzymes and other proteins for therapeutic and other applications. Prof. Davis was one of the scientists who founded Unipath and developed much of the patented technology which led to the first widely available home pregnancy test.