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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/R003939/1
Title: Smartwound-plasma
Principal Investigator: Jenkins, Professor A
Other Investigators:
Young, Dr AE
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Dr N T Thet
Project Partners:
Amicoat AS First Water Ramsbury Limited University of South Australia
Department: Chemistry
Organisation: University of Bath
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 02 October 2017 Ends: 31 March 2021 Value (£): 303,616
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Med.Instrument.Device& Equip. Tissue Engineering
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
31 May 2017 HT Investigator-led Panel Meeting - May 2017 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
This project addresses two major healthcare and societal challenges of the early 21st century: those of the rise of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and of the growing epidemic, in developed and developing nations of chronic (non-healing) wounds.

The recent report of Lord Jim O'Neil (TACKLING DRUG-RESISTANT INFECTIONS GLOBALLY, 2016) highlights the scale of the problem we now face as micro-organisms develop resistance to antibiotic therapies that have served us extraordinarily well for now over sixty years. In his report he draws attention to a world in 2050 where AMR is a 'devastating problem' unless we find new alternative strategies to effectively destroying invading pathogens. Whilst in 2016 it was estimated that AMR gave rise to an "already large" 700,000 deaths every year, this number will increase to an "extremely disturbing" 10 million every year, which is in fact more than the number of people that currently die from cancer every year. O'Neil also makes clear, in addition to the 'tragic human costs' the economic penalty of not tackling the rise in in AMR would grow by 2050 to 'an enormous' 100 trillion USD if we do not take action.

Whilst new drug therapies will no doubt play a role in combating the rise in AMR, there is a significant role for engineering solutions. In this project plasma technology is used to generate (from ambient air) agents such as hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) that are extremely effective at killing pathogens. Because plasma delivers several agents at one time, unlike antibiotics there is no evidence to date that microbes can develop resistance to plasma.

One of major complications of chronic wounds is infection, arising from opportunistic micro-organisms. Wound infections, like any other type of infection are showing AMR. Therefore the ability to (i) detect the first signs infection and (ii) neutralise the responsible organisms immediately would provide healthcare professionals a significant new weapon.

Finally the combined technologies that will be developed can be applied to problems beyond wound infection, for example bacterial colonisation of other medical devices including urinary catheters.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Organisation Website: http://www.bath.ac.uk