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Fucoidan and wound healing

Close up of a patient having a hand wound dressed.

Effective wound treatment is a significant global healthcare issue. To ease economic burden and improve treatment outcomes, researchers are increasingly developing effective and affordable wound dressings based on natural materials and biologically active substances. The use of innovative wound dressings can not only accelerate wound healing but can also result in minimal scarring.

Wound healing is emerging as a new area of application for marine polysaccharides. Sulfated marine polysaccharides, including fucoidan, are increasingly being studied for their potential skin healing benefits and trialled in innovative natural dressings (Andryukov et al. 2020).

Chronic wounds are typically characterised by persistent inflammation and the decreased production of growth factors. Fucoidan extracts have been extensively studied for their potential anti-inflammatory properties and may be of particular benefit in the wound healing process (Barbosa et al. 2019).

An Australian research group continues innovative studies into the potential use of fucoidan extracts in the development of new materials for medical device and wound healing applications. Researchers used high purity fucoidan, manufactured by Marinova, to create a unique organic film (Benbow et al. 2017). They found that the molecular weight of the fucoidan greatly altered the structure of the film affecting hydration, elasticity and thus the capacity for small molecules to move through the material. A second study shed light on the pathways by which future wound healing systems might be developed (Benbow et al. 2020).

Further studies utilising high purity fucoidan extracts produced by Marinova include those that demonstrate inhibitory effects on processes linked to skin ageing, including the increased expression of SIRT1 in vitro, and soothing and protecting benefits (Fitton et al. 2015).

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