More than six million people in the U.S. suffer from persistent wounds — open sores that never seem to heal or, once apparently healed, return with a vengeance. The bedridden elderly and infirm are prone to painful and dangerous pressure ulcers, and diabetics are susceptible to wounds caused by a lack of blood flow to the extremities.
“The problem is chronic,” says Prof. Amihay Freeman of TAU’s Department of Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology. To solve it, he’s developed a unique device that uses a solution to whisk away dead tissue, bathing the wound while keeping dangerous bacteria away.
Prof. Freeman’s “Dermastream” provides an enzyme-based solution that flows continuously over the wound, offering an alternative treatment to combat a problem for which current treatments are costly and labor-intensive. It could save the American healthcare system millions of dollars a year, and could be in hospitals and doctor’s offices soon: Dermastream has passed clinical trials in Israeli hospitals and may be available in the U.S. within the next year, says Prof. Freeman.
Smarter and less painful wound care
Employing a special solution developed at Prof. Freeman’s TAU laboratory, Dermastream offers a new approach to chronic wound care, a specialty known as “continuous streaming therapy.”
“Our basic idea is simple,” says Prof. Freeman. “We treat the wound by streaming a solution in a continuous manner. Traditional methods require wound scraping to remove necrotic tissue. That is expensive, painful and extremely uncomfortable to the patient. And while active ingredients applied with bandages on a wound may work for a couple of hours, after that the wound fights back. The bacteria build up again, creating a tedious and long battle.”