Projects / Programmes source: ARRS

Development of the functional textiles used for the treatment of diabetic foot (malum perforans)

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
2.14.02  Engineering sciences and technologies  Textile and leather  Textile chemistry 

Code Science Field
T390  Technological sciences  Polymer technology, biopolymers 

Code Science Field
2.05  Engineering and Technology  Materials engineering 
medical textiles, chronic wounds, diabetic foot, skin probiotic, electro spinning, development of the new yarns generation
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (27)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  28866  Mateja Cvikl  Social sciences  Researcher  2013 - 2014 
2.  17577  PhD Aleš Doliška  Engineering sciences and technologies  Researcher  2013  175 
3.  07004  PhD Darinka Fakin  Engineering sciences and technologies  Researcher  2013  325 
4.  27558  PhD Silvo Hribernik  Engineering sciences and technologies  Researcher  2013 - 2016  288 
5.  30510  PhD Rok Kopinč  Medical sciences  Researcher  2013 - 2014  46 
6.  04629  PhD Tatjana Kreže  Engineering sciences and technologies  Researcher  2013 - 2016  275 
7.  24332  PhD Manja Kurečič  Engineering sciences and technologies  Researcher  2013 - 2016  216 
8.  21408  PhD Aleš Lapanje  Medical sciences  Researcher  2013 - 2016  316 
9.  10429  PhD Miran Mozetič  Engineering sciences and technologies  Researcher  2013 - 2016  1,323 
10.  22407  PhD Alenka Ojstršek  Engineering sciences and technologies  Researcher  2013 - 2016  205 
11.  17420  Fani Oven    Technician  2013 - 2014  11 
12.  19268  PhD Zdenka Peršin Fratnik  Engineering sciences and technologies  Researcher  2013 - 2016  225 
13.  27542  PhD Tomaž Rijavec  Medical sciences  Researcher  2013 - 2016  211 
14.  04171  PhD Majda Sfiligoj Smole  Engineering sciences and technologies  Researcher  2013 - 2016  433 
15.  16239  PhD Dragica Smrke  Medical sciences  Researcher  2013 - 2016  482 
16.  22141  Silvo Soklič  Engineering sciences and technologies  Researcher  2013 - 2016 
17.  07814  PhD Karin Stana Kleinschek  Engineering sciences and technologies  Principal Researcher  2013 - 2016  1,110 
18.  10575  PhD Simona Strnad  Engineering sciences and technologies  Researcher  2013 - 2016  366 
19.  07003  PhD Olivera Šauperl  Engineering sciences and technologies  Researcher  2013 - 2016  407 
20.  22138  Nataša Šavli Jukan  Engineering sciences and technologies  Researcher  2013 - 2016 
21.  17019  Andrej Štritof  Engineering sciences and technologies  Researcher  2013 - 2016  17 
22.  23264  Ciril Triller  Medical sciences  Researcher  2013  96 
23.  23461  PhD Simona Vajnhandl  Natural sciences and mathematics  Researcher  2013  130 
24.  20048  PhD Alenka Vesel  Engineering sciences and technologies  Researcher  2013 - 2016  662 
25.  20571  MSc Veronika Vrhunc  Engineering sciences and technologies  Researcher  2015 - 2016  30 
26.  17021  Vida Vukovič  Engineering sciences and technologies  Researcher  2013 - 2016 
27.  17023  Marija Zorec  Engineering sciences and technologies  Researcher  2013 - 2016 
Organisations (5)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0106  Jožef Stefan Institute  Ljubljana  5051606000  85,680 
2.  0312  University Medical Centre Ljubljana  Ljubljana  5057272000  74,065 
3.  0795  University ob Maribor, Faculty of mechanical engineering  Maribor  5089638010  24,185 
4.  1553  PREDILNICA LITIJA d.o.o. (Slovene)  Litija  5033217000  58 
5.  3351  Institute of Metagenomics and Microbial Technologies  Ljubljana  6554784  319 
Diabetes is a known threat to the public health with an annually increasing number of patients by 0,5%. Especially traumatized are patients with diabetic feet. Several preventive measures have been taken over the last years to either improve early detection or to prolong the time until these arise. Although a lot of work has been conducted to improve efficiency of antimicrobial agents, there are still no articles or products available, dealing with prevention or disturbance of pathologic bacteria growth. The population of “healthy bacteria” for pathologic bacteria growth prevention is something completely new even in research. Skin of diabetic patients has an inadequate immunological response and is therefore prone to microorganism colonization. In human diabetic patients aerobic Gram-positive cocci are the predominant microorganisms that colonize the skin. Its immune system comprises two main types of protection against pathologic bacterial invasion by skin residing bacteria: innate and adaptive. It seems that the skin residing bacteria have an enormous role in the skin innate immunity. In fact it is well known that skin colonizers like Staphylococcus epidermidis, Propionibacterium acnae, Corynebacterium jeijkeium and Pseudomonas aeruginosa interact with the host immune system and can even produce antibacterial as well as anti-colonizing substances agains pathogenic bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus (1; see appendix 1). Therefore, the term "skin probiotics” for bacteria with beneficial effects on the normal functioning of the, seems appropriate. In line with the trends in the care of diabetic feet, our main goal will be the preparation of novel textile materials for prophylactic treatment. A specially designed approach will be used for functionalization of commercial fibers. Control over the products’ final properties will be initiated by careful treatment with nanofibers, which are the elementary building blocks of the functional outer shell. This shell will on one side provide desired functional properties for efficient attachment of commensal microbiota, and on the other exhibit characteristics, allowing control over selectivity, inertness and desired mechanical properties of the final textiles. Additional product features will be acquired by plasma treatment, which will improve the stability of the coating and prolong the overall shelf time of the product. The end deliverables of the project will be several yarns, acting as precursor materials for functional textile products (sock) for prophylactic treatment of diabetic foot. The study of the influence of fiber type and yarn construction on the fiber functionalization will significantly aid the development of novel textile products with desired properties. Fiber functionalization will be performed by electrospinning, where careful planning of nanofibers preparation will enable the incorporation of beneficial microbiota and add to the function of the final product. Fine tuning of eletrospinning parameters will result in nanofibers with desired properties. The development of functional yarns will be conducted in collaboration with the industrial partner, who is already planning on several novel textiles with a high added value. To improve the attachment of nanofibers to the chosen commercial fibers, these will be pretreated with plasma. The latter will provide surface functional groups forming stabile bonds with the nanofibers. This is necessary due to extensive forces exerted on the input material during industrial yarn production. The biggest breakthrough of this project will be the transplantation and incorporation of beneficial bacterial microbiota into novel materials for prophylactic treatment of the diabetic foot. The transplantation will be conducted at carefully planned and controlled conditions, while the isolated bacterial cells will be lyophilized and incorporated into specifically functionalized fibers, based on their physic-chemical properties.
Significance for science
In the frame of the research project dealing with the innovative development of functional therapeutic material we contributed to the basic knowledge in the area of modification and analysis of bacterial cells (effect of surface properties on binding capacity), monitoring of binding efficiency of bacterial cells on the fibrous material (introduction of new methods for analysis), development of multifunctional nanofibrous materials (sensor materials, materials for pain relief and wound healing materials with antioxidant capacity) useful for medical purposes. Modification of bacterial cells surface was achieved by the surface binding of polyelectrolyte polymers, which did not affect their viability and proliferation. During the project we have developed the analytical procedure for the determination of bacterial cell surface charge and developed original scientific approach to monitore the decomposition od nanofibrous layer with sophisticated QCM-D technique. For this purpose a suitable sample holder for QCM crystal was developed. With advanced technology and innovative approach of forming functional materials we have enabled the transfer of knowledge to many other prophylactic methods of treatment or complications associated with skin. The results of this project were published in 9 original scientific articles in international journals, 3 patents and 1 patent application and in 20 contributions to international conferences, which represents a significant original scientific contribution both to Slovenian and international research community. In this way, we presented the results to a broader research public and exchanged experiences and ideas with foreign experts in the field of fiber functionalization of polymer materials for medical purposes, and in the long term increase the possibility of integration into various bilateral projects and EU research projects. The project partners successfully prepared two ARRS project, in which we will upgrade obtained knowledge on the interactions between bacterial cells and fiber forming material, and successfully applied for a national project within the Smart specialization strategies together with industrial partners Predilnica Litija in the field of circular economy - CEL.KROG.
Significance for the country
Preservation of the innovative and high-tech industry is deemed to be essential for sustainable socio-economic development of Slovenia. Attaining this goal, the extensive cooperation of different research groups from universities, institutes and industries, each of them already accomplished with extensive expertise in their own respective fields will be necessary. In this way we can expect a better flow of information and potential networking between industrial partners, which will help Slovenian industry in breakthrough on the global markets. With the development of innovative technical textile materials based on an entirely new concept of bacterial functionalization on a textile substrate, which has not yet been implemented, we can offer extensive opportunities for Slovenian manufacturer of yarns and fabrics, as well as for the pharmaceutical industry. Developed prototype open the possibility for manufacturing of textile products with high added value for Slovenian textile industry. The use of environmentally friendly technologies, such as electrospinning and plasma surface modification technology, increases awareness for the environment and reduce energy use. The obtained results and the knowledge are the basis for the development of new textile products for the prophylactic treatment of diabetic wounds with which we could improve the quality of apatients’ life. This research has established an excellent basis for further development of medical products and collaboration between Slovenian research institutes and industry. Finally, the dissemination of the project’s results was focused on different objectives (to raise awareness, to inform, to engage, to promote), and was designed for different groups, e.g. the scientific community, potential industrial users, interested consumers, etc.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2013, 2014, 2015, final report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2013, 2014, 2015, final report
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