Hydrogel Dressings for Chronic Wound Healing in Diabetes: Beyond Hydration
Chronic wounds caused by diabetes are a significant medical challenge. Complications from non-healing can result in dire consequences for patients and cost the healthcare system billions of dollars annually. Non-healing in wounds for diabetic patient’s results from a combination of factors which impair clearing of injured tissue, proliferation of healthy cell populations and increase risk of infection. Wound dressings continue to form the basis for the treatment of chronic wounds. Traditionally, these focused solely on hydration of the wound site and mitigating infection risk. Hydrogel systems are ready made to meet these basic requirements due to their intrinsic hydration properties and ability to deliver active ingredients. Flexibility in materials and methods of release allowed these
systems to remain targets of research into the 21st century. Improved understanding of the wound environment and healing cascades has led to the development of more advanced systems which incorporate endogenous growth factors and living cells. Despite their promise, clinical efficacy of these systems has remained a challenge. Further, the regulatory pathways for approval add a layer of complexity to translate pre-clinical work into marketed products. In this review, we
discuss systems currently in clinical use, pre-clinical directions and regulatory challenges for hydrogels in the treatment of diabetic chronic wounds.