SAN FRANCISCO, July 5 (Xinhua) -- Researchers at Oregon State University (OSU) on the U.S. west coast have taken a key step forward in combating surgical site infections (SSI) with nanofiber-based wound dressings loaded with Vitamin D, according to a new study released Thursday.
The researchers used electrospinning to prepare dressings containing the bioactive form of vitamin D -- 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 in fighting wound infections.
"Electrospinning is a versatile, simple, cost-effective and reproducible technique for generating long fibers with nanoscale diameters," said Adrian Gombart, co-corresponding author and professor of biochemistry and biophysics in OSU's College of Science.
The scientists found the nanofiber-based dressings can deliver vitamin D on a sustained basis over four weeks and significantly produce a peptide that kills microbes by disrupting their membranes.
Unlike conventional dressings that contain only single-target antimicrobial compounds, the new material triggers better innate immune responses, thus minimizing the likelihood of drug resistance.
"Electrospun nanofiber wound dressings offer significant advantages over hydrogels or sponges for local drug delivery," Gombart said.
The dressings, which feature several functional and structural advantages such as scar-free healing, have been tested on human skins collected from plastic surgery patients in a culture dish, and the living organism of mice.
SSIs are the most common healthcare-associated infection that leads to the deaths of more than 13,000 people in the United States every year.
Statistics show that about 300,000 surgical patients develop an infection within 30 days of their operation in the United States, which cause an estimated 10 billion U.S. dollars in additional healthcare costs.