Scientists at the Tokyo University of Science (Tokyo, Japan) have developed a novel method to produce an alkaline hydrogel that can help improve wound healing. The method requires no specialised equipment and can be performed at room temperature to produce an alkaline hydrogel in five minutes, allowing its easy implementation, researchers behind the technique say.
It is important to create an optimal physiological environment around a wound to promote the growth of new cells. Recent research has revealed that a type of material called “hydrogel” is useful for achieving such conditions given its molecular structure.
Hydrogels are three-dimensionally cross-linked networks of polymers that can absorb more than 95% of their volume in water. Hydrogels with natural polymers have excellent compatibility with the biological conditions of skin and tissues, but can absorb fluids from the wound, and continuously provide moisture into the wound, creating a highly suitable environment for the wound to heal.
Ryota Teshima, who led the research, said: “We have succeeded in preparing a novel alkaline alginate hydrogel (pH 8.38–8.57) suitable for wound healing via a method that requires no special equipment and can be carried out at room temperature. This, in addition to the fact that the hydrogel forms in five minutes, makes it ideal for potential use in any medical practice anywhere for superior wound healing.”
The method involves mixing calcium carbonate and potassium alginate, and then adding carbonated water to this mixture and letting the ‘gelation’ (gel formation) process take place. In this method, the pH of the gel shifts to alkaline because the carbon dioxide volatilises after gelation. This also ensures transparency of the gel, which in turn allows the visual assessment of wounds and helps in easily ascertaining the progress of healing.
The next step is to assess its viability and effectiveness in living cells and animal models.