The Wound Management Innovation Cooperative Research Centre has joined forces with leading researchers at RMIT University.
Chronic wounds - which can take years to heal or never heal at all - cost the national health system $3 billion each year and cause great emotional, physical and financial stress to more than 430,000 Australians.
Since its establishment in 2010 as the world's first inter-disciplinary national wound research centre, the Wound Management Innovation Cooperative Research Centre (WMI CRC) has fast become the leading organisation for integrated and collaborative research into innovative wound care tools, systems and technologies.
As an essential participant, RMIT brings its research expertise and opportunities in pressure sensing bandages to aid in the treatment of wounds to the WMI CRC.
Dr Ian Griffiths, Chief Executive Officer of the WMI CRC, said: "RMIT University joining the WMI CRC is a very positive outcome for us, further building our capability and adding value to our current research and development activities.
"Several of our existing participants have already expressed interest in working with RMIT.
"Southern Cross University's podiatric department has already collaborated with RMIT to calibrate the new technology to a range of diabetic foot ulcers."
RMIT's initial research project with the WMI CRC will be led by Professor Franz Fuss, from the School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, and Associate Professor Olga Troynikov, from the School of Fashion and Textiles.
The project will design, develop and test prototype pressure mapping insoles with bio-acoustic feedback for the management of diabetic foot ulcers and venous leg ulcers, with a clinical collaboration with Queensland University of Technology planned for later this year.
RMIT Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Margaret Gardner AO, said the University's expertise in this key area would add value to the Centre.
"As technology becomes more sophisticated, so does our approach to healing the patient," Professor Gardner said.
"RMIT's research into advanced medical compression garments and sensors will ultimately help to deliver better and more comfortable solutions for patients."
Diabetes is the fastest growing chronic disease and affects more than 1 million Australians, with 100,000 new diagnoses every year.
Every 20 seconds globally someone has their leg amputated and annually 4,000 Australians lose their lower limbs - the primary cause of this is chronic diabetic foot ulcers.
Together the WMI CRC and RMIT will develop high-value, high-impact product opportunities, accelerate their progression, and build value by testing in wound clinics associated with the WMI CRC.
RMIT offers specific research capabilities in smart compression garments that facilitate healing and reduce scarring, including:
- the understanding, design and engineering of complex textile structures suitable for highly functional applications, including medical and sport compression
- research in clothing science addressing interaction of a human body with apparel, footwear, headgear, component materials, textiles and challenging environments
- thermal analytics of impact of textile, apparel and environment
- apparel ergonomic engineering and design - fit to activity, body mapping and garment engineering
The University also has strong capability in sensor engineering for medical and sports purposes, including:
- sensor development and design with smart materials, and research in sensor-less sensing
- sensor-based performance diagnostics with advanced signal processing
- biofeedback signal application for training and optimisation of performance
- product design of smart equipment.
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