Scientists from the University of Nottingham in the UK have fabricated synthetic spider silk fusing the healing properties of antibiotics which can be used to deliver drugs and close wounds. After five years in the making, the team lead by Neil Thomas developed an artificial version of the spider silk from E. coli bacteria. The curative amalgam was further enhanced when the scientists laced it with antibiotic molecules and other materials to create a better form of the bandage. The team's research is published in the journal of Advanced Materials. The team isn't the first to use spider silk for first aid. Spider silk was first used by ancient Greeks and Romans to clog the wounds of soldiers that were hurt during battle. Working with the same idea, the team added some changes to the ancient practice to make it suitable for the modern day usage. Using an artificial version of spider silk means that there is no dependence on the spider species, while combining the material with an antibiotic called levofloxacin makes it capable of warding off bacterial infections. Spider silk is known to be strong, biocompatible and biodegradable making it the perfect natural substance for the research. Furthermore, it isn't known to cause an allergic or inflammatory reaction in humans. “There is the possibility of using the silk in advanced dressings for the treatment of slow-healing wounds such as diabetic ulcers. Using our technique, infection could be prevented over weeks or months by the controlled release of antibiotics. At the same time tissue regeneration is accelerated by silk fibres functioning as a temporary scaffold,” said Thomas.
Source: DNA-10th January,2017