Research in the CCTMIH began by addressing unmet needs in wound management, continence management, blood filtration and infection control. As the research has evolved in response to clinical challenges, the development of new implantable and bioactive textile materials has become a major focus, aimed at addressing performance gaps in tissue repair and regeneration, diagnostics, wound healing and the treatment of disease. This work involves research on biomaterials such as collagen, textile manufacturing and medical device design, as well as clinical evaluation.
Wound management – Chronic wounds can arise for reasons such as poor circulation, neuropathy, difficulty moving, systemic illnesses, age, and repeated trauma. Chronic wounds can include venous leg ulcers, pressure sores and burn injuries. Bioactive hydrogel dressings capable of managing enzymatic activity and exudate are areas of development. With increasing rates of diabetes and obesity, significantly more people will suffer from chronic wounds that will not heal quickly. Chronic wounds cause severe emotional and physical stress as well as creating a significant financial burden on patients and the entire healthcare system.
Infection Control and Healthcare Associated Infections (HCAIs) are major global concerns. Research involves developing alternative strategies for the reduction of surgical and wound site infections, more effective removal of pathogens from surfaces, as well as the early-stage sensing and signalling of wound infection. Management of microbial activity, particularly bioflims in wound sites is key to reducing healing times, and new multi-functional textile materials capable of preventing biofilm formation are in development.
Continence management – Our work aims to significantly increase device disposal options for patients, carers and NHS staff by developing technology capable of enabling discrete, leakage resistant, fully toilet flushable devices. Morbidity, social withdrawal and nursing time issues are also being tackled by developing alternative technologies for combatting odour, reducing bacterial activity, skin irritation and the risk of infection associated with extended use of ostomy and ileostomy products.
Management of Disease and Blood Filtration – Sophisticated fibre-based devices are required to target the delivery of therapeutic compounds to diseased soft and hard tissues, as well as to enable improved therapeutic treatments for patients at the bed-side where selective removal of unwanted compounds may be required to manage or treat life-threatening conditions.