Researchers from Tyndall National Institute at UCC; together with researchers from RCSI, University of Medicine and Health Sciences; multinationals DeRoyal Global Healthcare Solutions and Henkel are today launching a €1 million Enterprise Ireland Innovation Partnership collaboration to innovate the next generation of compression wound care therapy.
Non-healing chronic wounds effect more than 5% of us, with numbers rising due to growing elderly and diabetic populations. These wounds cause significant morbidity and mortality, leading to €12.5 billion in worldwide healthcare costs annually. In some regions of the world, a patient loses a diabetic foot to amputation every 12 seconds.
The consortium, supported by Bray design consultancy Design Partners, expects to significantly advance the treatment of non-healing chronic wounds through their joint ability to research, develop and deliver futuristic smart wound care technology with integrated intelligence and connectivity.
Modern care with compression therapy involves squeezing of the limbs using elastomeric bandages to reduce swelling and aid in the recovery of venous ulcers, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and chronic ulcers. Treatment is a manual process that requires healthcare professionals to visually inspect compression bandages to ensure the correct pressure is maintained and to frequently re-dress bandages.
“We know it works but it’s hard to implement,” said Professor Zena Moore, Director of the Skin Wounds and Trauma (SWaT) Research Centre at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. “There is an unmet clinical need to standardise the process and use technology to assist healthcare specialists. This partnership will improve clinical compliance and adherence through smart wound care and significantly improve patient outcomes.”
“Utilising Tyndall’s expertise in deep-tech ICT for Health and building on the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with RCSI in 2010, we plan to significantly advance the treatment and monitoring of compression wound care therapy,” said Carlo Webster, Senior Strategic Business Development Executive at Tyndall. “With the application of microelectronics, software and connectivity, the team expects to deliver a full end-to-end digital health solution that will radically change how and where we manage compression wound care therapy in the future.”
“While wound care has advanced from a materials standpoint, it has not benefitted from deep-tech ICT solutions,” said Dr. Conor O’Mahony, Tyndall Principal Researcher and team lead in smart wound care. “Little has happened to merge current dressing materials with emerging microelectronic and wireless technologies.” To address this, O’Mahony has teamed with Dr. Brendan O’Flynn, Head of Tyndall’s Wireless Systems Network to expand the technology capabilities of the group.
“This unique consortium represents 10 years of relationship building between academia, clinicians and industry, as well as support from early funders including EU ECSEL,” explained Tyndall CEO Professor William Scanlon. “It brings together Tyndall’s deep-tech ICT for Health strategic programme, RCSI’s clinical validation, Henkel’s flexible electronics and materials, Design Partners’ design thinking, and the commercialisation drive provided by DeRoyal.”
“At DeRoyal, we know that working with partners like Tyndall and RCSI increases the resources at hand to lead in creating future solutions. Our combined efforts in developing an intelligent wound compression dressing therapy demonstrates the interconnected value between academic research, clinical industry and government funding,” added Mario Gaztambide, VP of International Sales and Marketing at DeRoyal Industries.
“Design Partners are excited to support this development program that will bring improved outcomes in the treatment of chronic wound care. Design Partners will support the depth of technical knowledge in the consortium with user centric design processes and human factors inputs,” said Eugene Canavan, Medical Design Director at Design Partners. “This program demonstrates the strong ecosystem of connected and digital health established and growing in Ireland.”