A pain and wound management approach for RDEB patients via a functionalized collagen-based hydrogel dressing with controlled release of painkillers

Patients with Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB) have a broad spectrum of need for pain and wound treatment, varying with the type of EB, the severity within that type, and the particular physical, emotional, and psychological milieu of each individual. EB research has advanced considerably in the past decade and wound and pain management have been improved. Promotion of wound healing, Protection of dressing change induced extra trauma, and Prevention of pain are the Primary goals of the treating physician (3Ps). However, none of the current pain and wound management strategies can achieve the 3Ps. In this proposed project, we aim to design and develop a functionalised collagen based hydrogel dressing encapsulated with painkillers, which could accelerate wound healing, alleviate pain, and avoid extra wounds. Hydrogel is a commonly used wound dressing for RDEB (a very severe type of EB) wound care, which possesses the advantages of cooling, reducing pain, keeping tissue moist, and offering a conformable shape. The removal of hydrogel dressings causes minimal pain and discomfort to the patients. Most of the current hydrogel dressings are fabricated from synthetic polymers and have minimal bioactive function for hard-to-heal wounds, such as RDEB wounds. In this project, a functionalised collagen and chitosan-based hydrogel will be designed and developed. This approach has promise for addressing the causes of chronicity of RDEB wounds, such as hyperproliferative keratinocyte (failure of epithelialization), excessive inflammatory factors, the disordered cellular activity, etc. Meanwhile, the painkiller will be encapsulated for controlled release from the hydrogel within a 3-day time period to fit the need of a common EB wound dressing change requirement. We believe that the successful development of this novel combined hydrogel dressing would promote wound healing and reduce extra trauma and pain, which would significantly improve the patients’ quality of life.

Award Date
18 November 2022
Award Value
Principal Investigator
Professor Wenxin Wang
Host Institution
HRCI-HRB Joint Funding Scheme