July 20, 2024

Living Dressing Containing Bacteria Shows Promise in Healing Chronic Wounds

A groundbreaking approach to treating chronic wounds has been developed, which involves using a “living dressing” that introduces bacteria to aid in the healing process. Typically, caregivers take steps to eliminate bacteria from chronic wounds; however, this experimental dressing takes a different approach by harnessing the power of bacteria.

Chronic wounds, such as diabetic skin ulcers, often become infected, resulting in the formation of a biofilm. This biofilm is essentially a layer of mucus created by colonies of bacteria within the wound, offering protection against antibiotics and disinfectants. Scientists from MIT and Switzerland’s Empa research institute set out to find a solution to destroy these biofilms directly at the wound site.

Drawing inspiration from an existing product called Bio-K+, which is primarily marketed as a gut health supplement, the researchers incorporated this product into Aquacel, a commercially available hydrogel wound dressing. Bio-K+ contains three types of lactobacilli probiotic bacteria.

To test the effectiveness of the augmented dressing, it was applied to a biofilm culture formed by Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria, one of the primary culprits in wound infections. The lactobacilli in the dressing produced lactic acid, effectively lowering the pH of the biofilm to an acidic level, which ultimately led to its destruction.

Encouraged by these initial results, the researchers moved on to testing the dressing on small wounds in human skin samples that had P. aeruginosa biofilms. Astonishingly, the dressing was able to eliminate 99.999% of the pathogens, without causing any harm to the skin cells. Additionally, the probiotic bacteria in the dressing stimulated the migration of fibroblasts, cells that play a crucial role in connective tissue formation, into the wounds.

The research, led by Dr. Qun Ren from Empa, has been published in the journal Microbes and Infection, highlighting its potential in revolutionizing wound care. This novel approach has shown promise in effectively eradicating biofilms and promoting wound healing, marking a significant step forward in the treatment of chronic wounds.

Chronic wounds pose a significant challenge in healthcare, often leading to severe complications and prolonged healing times. With the development of this bacteria-filled dressing, the potential for enhanced wound healing and prevention of infections in chronic wounds is within reach. While further research and clinical trials are necessary, this innovative solution could revolutionize the management of chronic wounds, improving the quality of life for countless patients worldwide.


  1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
  2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it