A new treatment for chronic wounds, developed by Crawford Healthcare and the University of Manchester, could save the NHS over £125m a year in the fight against antibiotic resistance, following the success of a breakthrough study.
With more than 5,000 major limb amputations taking place each year in England, at a cost of c£25,000 an operation, Crawford’s new silver-based wound dressing KerraContact Ag – developed in partnership with the University of Manchester – has prevented a near certain leg amputation at an NHS hospital following the failure of traditional antibiotic treatment.
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The development comes just weeks after the Government-commissioned Northern Powerhouse Independent Economic Review identified healthcare innovation as a world-leading capability of the North of England.
CEO of Crawford Healthcare, Richard Anderson commented: “This is a real coup for life sciences in the North and is a spectacular example of how innovation in healthcare can be a key driver in the success of the Northern Powerhouse.
“The dressing involved, along with those in our R&D pipeline, is the first to feature our new OxysaltTM technology, which the University of Manchester has found to be the most clinically effective to date.
“Not only will it transform the way the NHS cares for patients, but it will ensure vital savings, reduce the devastating oversubscription of antibiotics and, ultimately, improve lives.”
The breakthrough case at York District Hospital is expected to pave the way for a transformation in the way the NHS approaches chronically infected wounds, such as diabetic ulcers, which contribute significantly to long-term bed shortages and antibiotic resistance.
Nicola Wilson, a vascular nurse practitioner at York District Hospital, recalled how the health of the patient concerned deteriorated rapidly after an arterial ulcer became seriously infected, leading doctors to conclude that a lower leg amputation was likely.
Wilson commented: “I had been told that there was little chance of saving the gentleman’s leg, but we were trialing the new dressing and I thought it was worth a try.
“The wound began to show signs of healing in just one week. By the second week, I was astounded to find that the infection had completely cleared. As a result, the elderly man was transferred to a rehabilitation unit and discharged home to his wife a few weeks later.
The KerraContact Ag dressing features OxysaltTM, a new silver-based technology which Crawford Healthcare secured exclusive development rights to earlier this year, and is the first and only wound dressing to utilise the element in its most active state.
Crawford’s exclusive rights to the development of OxysaltTM within future wound care products is expected to further boost the company’s rapid growth. Over the past three years, the Knutsford-based business has enjoyed 30% average annual growth, while establishing export operations in Europe and the US.
Anderson concluded: “Silver has been used to treat infection for thousands of years, but interest in it waned when antibiotics became widely available.
“With antibiotic resistance now a serious threat healthcare provision, silver is proving a real asset in this global battle and we expect it to be the cornerstone of modern wound care for decades to come.”