Saturday, January 1, 2011

Silver Acticoat™ dressing wins lifetime achievement award

"Alberta engineer's Acticoat dressing wins award"
A biomedical engineer at the University of Alberta has won the Jonas Salk Award for his invention of a new kind of wound dressing that fights bacteria.

The lifetime achievement award is named after the inventor of the polio vaccine, which changed the world in 1955.

It was awarded Friday to Robert Burrell, who in 1995 developed a dressing called Acticoat that is infused with microscopic particles of silver to fight bacteria when applied to the skin.

Acticoat is used worldwide for wounds with a high risk of infection, such as burns.

One of its greatest benefits is that it doesn't need to be changed as often as other dressings, which cuts down on costs and improves patient care, said Dr. Gerit Mulder, director of the wound treatment centre at the University of Southern California.

For patients who are elderly or disabled, in particular, it is important not to disrupt a wound to reduce pain from dressing changes.
Dressing brings relief to diabetes patients

The Jonas Salk Award is presented each year to a Canadian scientist, physician or researcher who has made a new and outstanding contribution to prevent, alleviate or eliminate a physical disability. The winner receives $10,000.

Burrell's office is lined with various honours he has received over the years, but he said the Salk award carries special meaning because it is for making a difference to people.

"If someone had told me 20 years ago it would do this, I wouldn't have believed them," said Burrell.

Erwin Wong, 49, said he's benefited from Acticoat. Wong, who has diabetes, often gets severe wounds on the balls of his feet because of poor circulation.

With the dressing, Wong said he's able to walk down a street with his walker three times a week.

The Jonas Salk Award is presented jointly by the pharmaceutical company Sanofi Pasteur and the March of Dimes, which was originally created to raise funds to help fight polio and today assists people with a variety of disabilities.

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