Electrospun patches adhere inside the mouth to treat ulcers

UK researchers have used electrospinning to create biodegradable bandages that stick to the mouth and release drugs to treat ulcers.


(Credit: University of Sheffield)

The patches were developed by scientists from Sheffield University’s School of Clinical Dentistry working with Danish firm Dermtreat A/S. Currently, ulcers and lesions inside the mouth are largely treated using ointments or mouthwashes, which are not effective at targeting a specific area. This new treatment releases steroids directly to oral ulcers or lesions whilst also creating a protective barrier around the affected area.

The researchers made their ‘mucoadhesive’ patch using a process known as electrospinning, whereby polymers, solvents and other molecules are combined in ways that allow the resulting structures to be tuned. It’s a manufacturing technique that enables both nano- and microscale fibres to be interwoven, creating a high porosity and surface area that enables drugs to interact with the mouth, while also adhering to it.

Specifically, the patch created by the Sheffield team consisted of an outer hydrophobic polycaprolactone (PLC) backing layer and an inner, mucoadhesive component formed by electrospinning polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) and Eudragit RS100 as fibre-forming polymers. The work is published in the journal Biomaterials.

“Current treatments consist of using steroids in the form of mouthwashes, creams or ointments, but these are often ineffective due to inadequate drug contact times with the lesion,” said lead author Dr Craig Murdoch, from Sheffield’s Oral Bioscience School of Clinical Dentistry.

“The patch acts like a plaster inside your mouth, which means it is very effective at directly targeting the specific area as well as forming a protective barrier. Patients who have trialled the patch found it to be very comfortable to wear and they were really pleased with the length of adhesion which makes it particularly effective and efficient.”

The university is now working with Dermtreat A/S to take the patches into phase-two clinical trials, which will run at several sites across the US and the UK, including at the Charles Clifford Dental Hospital in Sheffield. Dermtreat is also funding further research at Sheffield’s Dental School to develop the next generation of patches that will contain other useful drugs.