Silicone As a Healing Agent

Silicone as a healing agent is a reality with the award-winning wound dressing technology Rapid Repair, an Aussie breakthrough invention manufactured by Romar.

Dr. Rosemary Craig, the product founder, discovered its efficacy when she accidentally cut herself in a remote NSW Northern Rivers hospital. Rather than seeking medical attention in Lismore, she used her experimental skin wound dressing, rapidly healing her wound in days, not weeks.

When the hospital closed, Dr. Craig relocated to Southern Cross University, where she dedicated several years to serving in the university’s health clinic, catering to the needs of students, faculty and the broader community. This transition offered her a unique opportunity to delve into research, capitalising on her affiliation with the academic institution.

Within this academic setting, she conducted initial clinical trials for the innovative wound dressing she had developed. The outcomes of these trials proved to be exceptionally encouraging. Notably, the technology enabled the removal of sutures after just one day for excision wounds, a significant departure from the conventional requirement of sutures remaining in place for ten to fourteen days.

A decade and a half long journey

The groundbreaking Rapid Repair wound technology revolutionises the process of molecular repair, ushering in accelerated skin healing and potentially obviating the necessity for sutures, staples, or adhesive solutions in numerous clinical scenarios.

The functioning of the Rapid Repair wound dressing technology involves the application of a slender black silicone strip to the wound, which is secured with surgical tape. This ingenious approach projects a delicate virtual scaffold onto the damaged skin, facilitating the alignment of molecules entering the wound and replicating the natural configuration of undamaged skin.

As reported by researchers, this innovative method significantly reduces the demand for sutures, staples and adhesives across a broad spectrum of clinical applications. It offers the prospect of healing wounds in days rather than weeks.

Remarkably, it takes over 4,000 collagen molecules to align and bridge a one-millimetre gap in damaged skin, underscoring the potential of this technology.

“One thing we weren’t looking at during the trials stage, but became apparent later on, was that it also reduced the scarring, significantly reducing the scarring in some cases. So that’s the two main benefits we’ve determined with the dressing: it can rapidly repair the skin, and it reduces scarring,” said Gerard Chriss, CEO of Rapid Repair.

The initial usage of the Rapid Repair technology was for surgical incision wound, and the other one, of course, is accidental lacerations presenting in accident and emergency departments. The idea came to the attention of the CSIRO, which invited the team to undertake the acceleration courses, the commercialisation side of the CSIRO.

Through a collaborative effort with the Australian CSIRO, the creators of Rapid Repair introduced their pioneering wound healing solution in the esteemed NASA iTech competition. This global platform challenges visionaries to devise innovative solutions to surmount critical technological obstacles associated with future lunar and Martian exploration.

Rapid Repair emerged as the triumphant solution in NASA’s international competition, recognised for its game-changing wound healing technology. Distinguished experts on the judging panel concurred that this rapid healing product holds immense potential for space applications, offering a straightforward and efficient approach to wound treatment.

The cutting-edge Australian wound-healing technology is slated to embark on a journey to the International Space Station, where astronauts will evaluate its efficacy in the unique environments of micro and zero gravity, marking a significant milestone in the product’s trajectory.

Manufacturing excellence

“When we were doing the CSIRO course, we realised we should be looking at the manufacturing side of things. So I had a poke around online to see who I could find. The other thing is that our prototypes had been in latex. I wanted to move to silicone. I had contacted a manufacturer in China, and initially, they had sent over some good samples,” says Gerard.

“My aim was to get enough material from them in the short term to generate some income while I set up local manufacturing because I always wanted to use local manufacturing. I found Romar online initially but didn’t do anything about it.

I then spoke to our mentors from the CSIRO, and one of them had a positive history with Romar on another project. They knew about Romar and recommended them. I also worked with an industrial design professional at the CSIRO and he recommended Romar as well.

Naturally, I was cautious; however, I had received a number of qualified recommendations and Romar was so well regarded in the field of silicone manufacturing and manufacturing medical devices that it was a natural and comfortable fit for us.”

Rapid Repair manufacturing is underway

Gerard and Romar embarked on a visit to the United Kingdom with the goal of securing the necessary machinery to enable large-scale production of Rapid Repair. Notably, they have already created product samples, and the technology is currently in the final stages of receiving its silicone coating and undergoing meticulous packaging procedures. Anticipating a domestic launch in 2024, the development of Rapid Repair is progressing according to its established timeline.

Furthermore, it is worth highlighting the substantial interest garnered from international defence forces, as well as potential distribution partnerships in South East Asia and Japan. While the scope of this technology’s application is vast, one area that particularly resonates with the company’s passion is the treatment of wounds in the youngest patients.

During Gerard’s extensive research conducted in collaboration with CSIRO, he conducted in-depth interviews with a diverse group of individuals to collect data on their recent experiences with sutures.

The research unveiled a striking observation: a significant portion of the respondents vividly recalled the initial trauma associated with their first encounter with stitches rather than their most recent experience. Mitigating the trauma of wound healing in young individuals while concurrently achieving a substantial reduction in scarring represents a momentous breakthrough in the realm of medical treatments, one that promises enduring benefits for both patients and medical practitioners alike.

Romar is thrilled and honoured to contribute to this significant advancement in medicine. Our renowned expertise in silicone manufacturing and the manufacture of medical devices has earned international acclaim. Collaborating with an Australian company on a homegrown technology is a great inspiration for the Australian manufacturing sector.

With a rich history spanning over four decades, Romar has consistently provided scalable manufacturing solutions to a diverse range of industries throughout Australia. Our commitment to excellence extends to the global manufacturing landscape.

When the time comes for your manufacturing needs, contact Australia’s foremost team and discover the pinnacle of professionalism and manufacturing expertise.

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