Bioactive glass was first discovered in 1969 by Dr. Larry Hench. For the first time in history, it provided an alternative biomaterial; second generation, interfacial bonding of an implant with host tissues. Since Dr. Hench’s discovery, bioactive glass has been used in orthopedic and dental applications. But many of the original silica-based glass found in orthopedic applications was not suited for soft tissue healing.
Fast forward to 2009: In a lab at Missouri University of Science and Technology, researchers added unique elements to bioactive glass for the purpose of promoting angiogenesis. And a novel borate-based bioactive glass was born.
Shown to facilitate the healing of soft tissue wounds, borate-based bioactive glass was also demonstrated as a new material that may be useful in the treatment of chronic wounds. When borate-based bioactive glass is placed in a wound bed, it begins to interact with body fluids, releasing ions that stimulate all four phases of the healing cascade: hemostasis, inflammation, proliferation and remodeling.
The release of calcium ions stimulates hemostasis – accelerating the first stage of the wound healing process. Research has shown that ionic products of borate-based bioactive glass’s dissolution in body fluid, stimulates osteoblast proliferation and may enhance angiogenesis i.e. the mechanism by which new blood vessels are formed from pre-existing blood vessels. This crucial step in wound healing ensures an adequate flow of oxygen is available at the wound site, enhancing new tissue growth and restarting the healing process in stalled or non-healing wounds.
As healing progresses borate-based bioactive glass stimulates the release of growth factors involved in the deposition of extracellular matrix (transforming growth factor β), chemotaxis (platelet-derived growth factor), epithelialization (fibroblast growth factor and epidermal growth factor), and angiogenesis (vascular endothelial growth factor).
Since its chemical makeup supports all four phases of the healing process, borate-based bioactive glass is an effective wound treatment, particularly in difficult to heal patients. Borate-based bioactive glass is totally synthetic, avoids many of the issues associated with collagen products and animal-derived products, and helps improve patients' quality of life and clinical outcomes.
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