SCU researchers

Rapid Repair research team leader Dr Rosemary Craig (centre), with her other team members, business consultant Gerard Cris and biomedical researcher Dr Nedeljka-Rosic

A revolutionary wound-healing technology developed by Australian scientists, led by Southern Cross University‘s Dr Rosemary Craig, is attracting attention in an international competition run by NASA.

The innovative ‘Rapid Repair’ wound dressing technology has the potential to heal wounds in days rather than weeks, and without stitches. It works by changing the way molecules repair, enabling skin to heal quickly, and potentially removes the need for stitches, staples or glue in many clinical situations.

Project leader Dr Craig came up the idea while recovering from a surgical procedure herself. After doing the initial development on the technology, her team has since begun clinical trials, and developed the commercial product via the CSIRO’s ON Accelerate program.

To infinity and beyond…

Rapid Repair caught the attention of NASA when the team presented the technology to NASA’s competitive Ignite the Night iTech Event panel recently. They won their round and have secured a place in the semi-finals, which will be held in August.

‘NASA is already planning for the future including the “Moon to Mars” mission and hosts this competition series to hear about the latest scientific advances and innovative space ideas,’ said Dr Craig.

‘The panel of NASA scientists said they thought our rapid healing product would be very useful and valuable in space, especially as communication back to earth can often have a 10-minute delay and this is such a simple treatment to apply.’

Dr Craig said a pilot study at Lismore campus’ Southern Cross University Health Clinic showed promising clinical outcomes. There are plans for further clinical trials in collaboration with the University of Queensland.

Extraordinary results

‘During our clinical trial on skin cancer wounds we were able to remove patients’ stitches after just one day,’ said Dr Craig. ‘These trials are showing this novel dressing works on all skin types, including on aged skin and people with diabetes, and can minimise scarring.

‘Future trials plan to heal cuts and wounds without using stitches at all. It is simple and painless to apply, using a non-invasive device with a long shelf life. The potential impact of this technology is enormous as it not only increases the rate of repair but significantly changes the way wound healing is understood.’

Southern Cross University Head of the School of Health and Human Sciences Professor Julie Jomeen congratulated the team on their project success, saying their win is an ‘amazing achievement and the school is excited to see this innovative research develop and deliver real impact in wound care’.

Dr Craig said, ‘We really are over the moon to win this part of the competition. It’s pretty unexpected in a way as the quality of the other innovations was extremely high.’

With NASA’s involvement, the sky may not be the limit for this new healing technology.