Besides composition, Jung and Day thought the structure of the material may be important to consider, too, and suspected that providing a healing "scaffold" might be beneficial to skin reconstruction. "We wanted to have a material that could mimic the microstructure of fibrin that normally forms the basis of a blood clot. We reasoned that if the structure could imitate fibrin, it might trap blood platelets and allow the formation of a wound cover that could support the healing process."
Jung and Day finally settled on a particular borate glass composition called 13-93B3 glass that Mo-Sci, a company founded by Day, already knew how to form into cottony glass fibers, 300 nanometers to 5 micrometers in diameter.
After animal tests showed no adverse effects, Mo-Sci obtained a license to the material from Missouri S&T, named the borate glass material "DermaFuse," and approached PCRMC about starting the small-scale human test.
PCRMC approved the trial in July 2010, and nurse Taylor saw her first patient one month later. Once the study was underway, the company provided Taylor with individual, foil-sealed packets containing pads made of the glass fibers. She says the material is easy to apply. "You can form it, pick it, make it into any kind of shape you need out of it. I used tweezers to pack the material up into all of the recesses before filling the rest of the wound. I didn't pack it hard, but enough to fill all the crevices. Once it was in place, I covered it with a secondary covering or compression wrap."
One thing that surprised Taylor was that the glass fibers seem to disappear over time, a phenomenon that has been observed with other bioglasses. "Does it dissolve? Does it become part of the tissue? We don't quite know, but it is just such a neat thing to watch that process," she marvels.
Taylor acknowledges that under her care, the wounds
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The American Ceramic Society