Treatment for ulcers in the oral mucosa

Transmission electron image of the peptide hydrogel that could be used to treat nonspecific ulcers in the mouth. (Image: L. Kind, FHNW)

As part of the Nano Argovia project Hydrogel-Patch, an interdisciplinary team led by Dr. Lucy Kind (University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland, FHNW) is working with the company credentis AG (Windisch) to develop a plaster for use on nonspecific ulcers in the oral mucosa. The plaster consists of a synthetic, self-assembling peptide hydrogel that initially covers the affected areas and is potentially also suitable for releasing therapeutic agents.

A need for comprehensive therapy
Wounds in the oral mucosa can have a variety of causes, including injuries, infections, reduced immune responses and tumors. Nonspecific ulcers are often caused by a combination of different factors. Whatever their origin, these wounds cause pain during eating or speaking and therefore negatively impact patients’ quality of life. Ideally, there would be a treatment that could be applied directly within the mouth and that relieved pain, supported the healing process and was produced without ingredients of animal origin.
Now, the team of researchers is planning to test a synthetic peptide hydrogel that meets these requirements. The hydrogel in question consists of synthetic, self-assembling peptides that adhere to soft, moist tissue. This fibrous network can be cross-linked by various substances to deliver greater stability.

The technology is already being used for other applications in dentistry, such as the controlled regeneration of enamel, and exhibits excellent compatibility with surrounding tissue.

“Over a decade, we have been working successfully with the FHNW. Every credentis product contains a piece of Northwestern Switzerland. In the SNI cooperation with the University of Basel and the FHNW, we would like to go one step further and explore new indications in the oral care field. We expect this to lead to innovative and intelligent regeneration systems in the field of soft tissue management.”

Michael Hug, CTO at credentis AG


Building on past experience
As part of the Nano Argovia project PERIONANO, researchers from the SNI network have already studied the use of this hydrogel to treat inflammation around dental implants. Now, the scientists are testing various methods and substances that cross-link and therefore stabilize the hydrogel as part of the new Nano Argovia project entitled Hydrogel-Patch. This work involves examining how the hydrogel adheres to the moist tissue of the mouth and how it can be protected from being washed out. The project team is also investigating topics including biocompatibility and the integration of nanocapsules that release active substances.

In addition to project leader Dr. Lucy Kind, the project includes Professor Falko Schlottig (FHNW), the team of Professor Oliver Germershaus as well as Professor Michael Bornstein from the University Center for Dental Medicine Basel (UZB) and Michael Hug from credentis AG.

Additional information

credentis AG
School of Life Sciences (FHNW)
University Center for Dental Medicine Basel (UZB)