Nanoenabled Hydrogels For Advanced Skin Care

Chronic non-healing wounds require intensive and costly medical attention and constitute a substantial economic burden to the healthcare systems. There are at least three factors to consider in the complexity of chronic wounds; 1) prolonged inflammation leads to accumulation of neutrophils in the affected area, which release matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and myeloperoxidase (MPO), 2) excessive accumulation of MMPs and MPO promotes proteolytic and oxidative damage of healthy tissue and therefore hampers the healing process; 3) wound bed is heavily colonised by bacteria and prolonged exposure increases the chances of bacterial infections. Despite there are many dressing products in the market targeting chronic wounds, none of them is sufficiently effective as they have been designed mainly to absorb wound exudate, provide moisture environment, and, at most, to release antimicrobial agents.

To overcome the aforementioned problems, researchers from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) have developed a new hydrogel that simultaneously reduces oxidative stress, bacterial growth and the excessive activity of MMPs and MPO, in addition to basic requirements for exudate removal and moisture preservation. The new hydrogel is obtained by in-situ self-assembling of biopolymers bearing nucleophilic groups and metal nanoparticles (NPs) with phenolic shell.

In fact, not only this hydrogel but a method for producing hydrogels for various skin applications has been developed; the hydrogel properties depend on the selected nanoparticles and their interactions with the biopolymers. Chronic wound healing is the first application, but others like tissue regeneration can be developed. This new method provides multiple benefits:

  • Multiple bioactivities including, antioxidant, inhibition of deleterious enzymes and antimicrobial action to improve the healing outcome.
  • High efficiency allowing its use for multiple biomedical applications.
  • The polymer-NPs interaction allows sustained release of the nano-silver, providing a long-term antimicrobial effect.
  • Easy to use as a pharmacological product for chronic wounds or as an active ingredient in other biomedical formulations.
  • Simple, cost-efficient and environmentally-friendly preparation method.
  • Safe for humans due to the lack of chemical crosslinking agents.
  • The versatility of the technology allows the design and production of hydrogels for several skin care applications.

The represented institution is looking for a collaboration that leads to commercial exploitation of the presented invention.

Institution: Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya

TRL: 3-4

Protection status: Patent Application

Contact: Miguel Estruch /