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Scientists develop injectable hydrogel from spirulina for rapid recovery of internal injuries

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Researchers have developed an injectable hydrogel derived from spirulina that can help accelerate wound repair in internal injuries and rapid healing in diabetic patients, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) said on Thursday.

Repeated dressing of diabetic wounds badly affects the healing process, while it is difficult to assess the wound repair in internal injuries due to treatment complications.

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To address this, scientists at the DST’s Institute of Nano Science and Technology (INST), Mohali have developed an injectable hydrogel from kappa-carrageenan, a water-soluble polysaccharide found in edible red seaweeds, and a pigmented protein called C-phycocyanin, found in spirulina.

The gelling property of k-carrageenan was utilised by the researchers, along with C-phycocyanin, as an injectable and regenerative wound-dressing matrix to heal the wound rapidly and also to monitor its progress in real-time.

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The matrix developed was highly biocompatible. The research published in the journal, “Acta Biomaterialia”, established the superior haemostatic (blood flow retarding) capabilities of the combination in traumatic injury conditions.

The hydrogel matrix developed by Surajit Karmakar and his group is fluorescent and allowed in vivo Near-infrared (NIR) imaging.

Thus, it can help monitor the recovery by taking the time-lapse 3D images of the hydrogel-filled wound. Changing the depth of the wound bed allows detection of the percentage recovery in wounds.

“Such types of imaging can allow real-time monitoring of wound repair in internal injuries and diabetic patients, where monitoring of wound repair is a challenge,” the DST said.

The anti-inflammatory response and rapid blood-clotting ability of k-carrageenan-C-phycocyanin (k-CRG-C-Pc) further empowers its applicability in rapid blood-clotting, anti-inflammation and appropriate monitoring of accelerated wound recovery.

According to the INST group, the synthesised hydrogel will be highly beneficial for people of all ages in wound-healing applications.

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