A Singapore startup is treating chronic wounds with maggots and collagen patches made from bullfrog skins
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Spotted: Chronic wounds are a major medical issue affecting 1 in 20 patients in Singapore. One of the leading causes for chronic wounds is diabetes, a disease that affects 1 in 10 patients in the cIty-state. With an ageing population set to exacerbate the problem, innovators are thinking laterally to find novel solutions. One company is turning to frogs and maggots for a natural approach to wound healing.
Cuprina is a medical technology firm based in Singapore that is focused on the challenge of chronic wound care. Its core product is MEDIFLY, a bio-dressing made from live clinical-grade maggots. In the first phase of wound healing, the human body releases enzymes that prevent infection. These enzymes stop harmful pathogens from entering the bloodstream but also prevent harmful material from being pushed out of the body. In some cases, this stops the wound from fully healing. The MEDIFLY maggots complement the work of the enzymes by cleaning the wound of unwanted matter.
Once the maggots have done their work, Cuprina’s newest product can play an important role in the second phase of healing. The company has a licence to scale up and commercialise new collagen patches developed by researchers at Nanyang Technological University (NTU). The clinical-grade collagen used for the patches is made from discarded bullfrog skins. By providing a scaffold for the body’s white blood cells and healing agents to coagulate and form a protective layer, the patches play an important role in the healing process. They also help to keep the wound moist.
In the third and final phase of wound healing, the collagen patches provide collagen as a ‘building block’ material to repair the skin. Together, the MEDIFLY dressing and collagen patches encourage a faster recovery for patients struggling with wounds such as diabetic foot ulcers.
“Our focus is always on promoting and encouraging natural wound healing, intervening only to help the body do what it does organically,” explains Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Cuprina Holdings, Mr Carl Baptista. “With NTU’s patented technology, we can develop a line of natural, amphibian-derived collagen products that are highly compatible with the human body. It is this compatibility that leads to improved healing outcomes over what is currently available.”
Other recent healthcare innovations spotted by Springwise include hologram patients that help to train medics, an app that provides ‘digital viagra’ therapy, and diagnostic tools that scan eye images to diagnose kidney disease.
Written By: Matthew Hempstead