Polymers for Radiation and Thermal Burns Treatment
Research and Development of New Polymer Materials for Treatment of Radiation/Thermal Burns
Tech Area / Field
- CHE-POL/Polymer Chemistry/Chemistry
- MED-DRG/Drug Discovery/Medicine
8 Project completed
Senior Project Manager
Mitina L M
Yerevan Institute "Plastpolymer", Armenia, Yerevan
- Research Center of Radiation Medicine and Burns, Armenia, Yerevan
- Lund University, Center for Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Sweden, Lund\nBoston Medical Center, USA, MA, Boston
Project summaryAt present the problem of thermal and radiation burns is one of the leading ones amongst other urgent problems of medicine. The significance of burn/radiation traumas increases not only in a period of war, but in peaceful periods as well, especially in emergency situations, in case of natural, technogenic, social and specific disasters. Nuclear catastrophes in a peaceful period can occur due to the technogenic accidents on nuclear facilities, in particular, on Nuclear power plants, as well as due to acts of terrorism on similar devices. In the epidemiology of burns-related traumatism the special threat pose acts of terrorism, the frequency, range and international character of which are constantly increasing. The unprecedented act of September 11, 2001 in USA that was fraught with numerous victims is a proof of this. In concern of incidence of thermal and radiation burns the Republic of Armenia is not a safe country. During the last decade the clinical activity demonstrates that there is a tendency to significant increase of burn-related traumatism in domestic conditions . This latter is connected with the social problems of the general population of Armenia. The most dramatic aspect is that, in practice, 50% of the injured (burnt) are children. Nowadays there are certain achievements in treatment of burns; they allow decreasing the mortality at the early stages of the disease: in the period of burn shock and acute burn toxemia. However, the total percentage of mortality decreased insignificantly, especially in case of severe thermal injuries. In the main, the structure of mortality has changed. At present various infection complications became the main cause of mortality in severely burnt inpiduals. The comparison makes it evident that despite the modern intense antibacterial therapy, both total and local, the mortality rate due to the infectious complications remains extremely high. Development of highly effective antibacterial means is required for local treatment, as, in practice, almost all antibiotics possess immune-depressant and toxic properties which set limitations for their application in burns and radiation injuries accompanied by the immune-deficient syndrome.
For treatment of wounds and burns in medical practice different anti-burn materials are used: those based on natural and synthetic polymers. By its form polymer covers for burns and wounds are pided into films, gel forming, aerosols, sponges and foams [2-4]. Polymers are applied for development of basically new dressing materials for treatment of wounds and burns, which would fulfil not only the protective function, but the curative one as well. However, up till present in the world practice amongst the dressing materials there prevail those based on cotton and gauze, the sorption ability of which is unsatisfactory. Modern polymers are capable to absorb water in quantity exceeding more than 100 times the mass of the polymers themselves. At the same time the sorption ability of surgical cotton does not prevail 14 g/g . This point explains numerous efforts of the researchers aimed at the widening of the assortment of polymer anti-burn materials and the endeavours to ensure the entire complex of useful properties.
Project goals: To develop highly efficient materials (polymer films, gels, etc.) with enhanced antibacterial, absorptive and aesthetic properties aimed at treatment of burns and radiation injuries.
Amongst the synthetic polymers for treatment of burns the great attention of the researchers is drawn by the polyvinyl alcohol that is capable to form both films and hydro-gels. In the Project presented it is supposed to use new co-polymers of vinyl alcohol with vinyl monomers. For the development of effective anti-bacterial polymer materials the following is presupposed by the Project: 1.Complex-formation of the developed copolymers with iodine;2. Synthesis of non-toxic metal-containing polymers.
The necessity of researches proposed in this Project proceeds from the practical demands of efficient medical materials. However, the results obtained are of scientific and theoretical interest for medicine and chemistry of polymers. Main milestones are the following:
1. The series of new co-polymers with reproducible content and properties will be obtained. The test for reproducibility on the pilot facility would allow suggesting the ecologically clean technology for further implementation. It is supposed to appeal for the patent on the procedure of obtaining the polymers. There is the possibility to implement the production of polymers in Armenia on the pilot industrial plot of Yerevan “Plastpolymer” Institute. The sphere of application of the polymers involves: medicine (anti-burn materials, basis for the development of new medicinal preparations of prolonged action) and chemical industry (thickeners for textile, cosmetics, etc.).
2. On the background of the polymers obtained, multi-functional anti-burn covers will be developed, possessing, alongside with non-toxicity, a number of useful properties. High desiccant capacity of the materials proposed would allow performing efficient absorption of wound discharge, while the prolonged antiseptic activity of the materials would allow to decrease wound-related infectious complication. Ointment-like consistency of hydro-gels would allow their use for treatment of extended burn wounds and would facilitate the homogeneous adhesion all over the wound and easy removal without damaging of viable tissues. Unlike all the analogs available, the materials of new type based on non-toxic metal-containing polymers would possess their own biological activity.
3. In experimental conditions the efficiency o the materials will be demonstrated for the treatment of infected wounds and burns. Basing on the results of medical and biological examination the methods will be corrected for application of the new dressing materials in experimental animals and, later on, in volunteers for treatment of burns. The most efficient materials will be suggested to the consideration of the Pharmacological Committee for the broad application in medical practice. Usually scientific researches by far precede the implementation of the results and findings into practice of Public Health.
The chemists, participating in the Project, have a long-term experience on development, synthesis and implementation of polymers based on vinyl monomers, including the co-polymers of vinyl alcohol. Highly qualified specialists from the Research Centre of Radiation Medicine and Burns /WHO Collaborating Centre (WHO focal regional Centre on REMPAN) will participate in the Project. Dr. N. Davidyan, (Ph.D., M.D.), Project Manager, is the Head of the Department of Burns at the Research Centre of Radiation Medicine and Burns. He is the Assistant Professor at the Chair of Radiation Medicine and Burns of the National Institute of Health (Yerevan, Armenia). In a period of March 21 to May 17, 1996 he participated in a visiting Fellowship at The New York Hospital – Cornell University Medical Center: at the Pediatric Critical Care Unit and the Burn Unit; he has also attended Pediatric and Adult Burn Clinics of the Burn Center. Professor N. Hovhannisyan, the scientific consultant on the Project is the Academician of the Academy of Medical Sciences of Armenia, Full Member of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences and Technology, Laureate of State Award on Science and Technology (Armenia). He is a specialist in the field of radiation and nuclear medicine; publication list of Prof. Hovhannisyan number more than 300 scientific papers, including 7 monographs.
To achieve the aims of the Project, it is planned to solve the following basic tasks: Synthesis of polymers; Development of new materials; Medical and biological researches. Project fulfilment presupposes the following:
1.Development of reproducible technology on synthesis of polymers;
2.Synthesis of polymers, obtainment of materials and compositions with the complex of required properties;
3.Study on the physical-chemical, physical-mechanic, and toxic properties; 4.Inducement (modelling) and study (in the experiment) of combined radiation/thermal injury, isolated radiation and thermal burns;
4.Local/topical treatment of these pathologies with the help of the materials developed; 5.Hematological, cytogenetic and bacteriologic study prior- and post-treatment;
6.Experimental study on the medicinal properties of the materials developed;
7.Application of the most efficient materials in clinical practice (volunteers only);
8.Processing and monitoring of data obtained with the aim of further recommendations on clinical usage.
In accordance with the aims of ISTC the following tasks will be realized on performing the Project presented: Re-orientation of the activity of scientists engaged previously in defence/weapon sector to solution of Public Health problems; Integration of the researchers from Armenia into the International scientific community; Support to the researches in the sphere of Public Health and Natural Sciences; Rendering assistance in solution of national and international problems related to human health: prevention of burn and radiation injuries.
The proposed Project will be performed by both participating organizations: Yerevan Research Institute “Plastpolymer” and the Research Centre of Radiation Medicine and Burns according to the main character of their activity. New up-dated physical and chemical methods will be used in the study. The Research Centre of Radiation Medicine and Burns (Yerevan, Armenia) has the scientific and technological basis required for the fulfilment of medical and biological researches (including the vivarium).In the frames of this project the foreign Collaborators will be involved in: Information exchange and joint discussion of the results in the process of Project implementation; Giving comments to the Technical reports; Joint scientific publication.
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