Four Alberta companies featured at Calgary conference

When most people think of wounds, we think of a skinned knee from falling off of a bike or a cut. However there are more serious wounds than these, and they are connected to patients who have diabetes, artery and vascular diseases or a chronic pressure source.

A multi-million dollar problem

The Canadian Association of Wound Care states that it costs approximately $10,376 to treat a chronic wound. The Canadian health care system spends $150 million annually to treat diabetic foot ulcers alone, according to the Canadian Association of Wound Care.

Mount Royal University’s department of nursing and integrative health institute jointly organized a skin and wound care innovations symposium on Oct. 22. The symposium highlighted up-and-coming technologies that will create changes in wound care.Speakers at the skin and wound care innovations symposium field questions from the audience about their innovations advancing the area of skin and wound care.

Photo by Jessica Cameron

Nicola Waters, an associate professor at Mount Royal’s Department of Nursing, and Elaine Danelesko, director of the university’s Integrative Health Institute, came together to organize the symposium. The one-day event attracted nursing students, health care professionals, scientists and entrepreneurs.

“When we saw that there was this aspect of an entrepreneurial focus and innovation focus, we thought that would be a wonderful spin on wound care,” Danelesko said.

Waters had been speaking with many innovative companies that were expressing the difficulties that they were having in showcasing their inventions.

Danelesko added, “We were really keen to profile local companies. We wanted to give students that we had invited from nursing, from the business program and from our sciences area examples of local success.”

Innovators showcase wound-care technologies

Silver wound dressings are used to aid healing in major wounds.

Photo courtesy of Exciton Technologies Inc.

The symposium featured four Alberta companies that are marketing different technologies, all aiding with the prevention and healing of wounds.

Carla Spina, of Exciton Technologies Inc., presented on wound dressings that use silver ions. These contribute not only to the healing of wounds, but also the patient’s comfort.

The ITClamp is a new innovation meant to close gaping wounds and prevent blood loss until the patient reaches the hospital.

Photo courtesy of Innovative Trauma Care The next technology that was showcased was the ITClamp from Ian Atkinson, the chief operating officer at Innovative Trauma Care. The ITClamp is designed to use in the field — for the military or paramedics to easily close a gaping wound, preventing blood loss.

Karl Schilling from XSENSOR Technology Corporation demonstrated the ForeSite Patient Turn system, which is a sensor pad that is put on top of a mattress. The monitor then displays where pressure is on a patient’s body. This aids health care professionals in knowing when to adjust a patient’s position to alleviate pressure that can cause wounds.

The SurroSense Rx is meant to help patients who have hardly any feeling in their feet, it allows them to remove the pressure preventing wounds from starting.

Photo courtesy of Orpyx The final speaker was the chief executive officer at Orpyx, Breanne Everett, who explained the SurroSense Rx. This is a pressure-sensing insole that collects data from the feet — and alerts the user through an app or wristwatch — about where the pressure is on their feet. This is helpful for people who have no feeling in their feet. It allows them to see the areas that are absorbing the most pressure, allowing for a reaction to avoid wounds.

Wound-care pioneer reflects on advancements

The keynote speaker, Dr. David Knighton, has been a pioneer in the wound-care field. He has been a part of many advances that have aided in the treatment of wounds.

Dr. Knighton said, “Twenty-five years ago when I was asked what could I see in the future for diabetic foot care, I described exactly what she (Breanne Everett) made. I said ‘someday someone will do that.’ Well here I am sitting at a conference in Alberta, and seeing that another physician has done this.”Dr. David Knighton gave the keynote address at the skin and wound care innovations symposium, explaining his advancements in wound care.

Photo by Jessica Cameron

Dr. Knighton has been in the skin and wound care field for approximately 30 years. He has been at the forefront of the idea of a wound care centre, as well as accelerating wound healing with the use of topical growth factors and showing that oxygen can be used as an antibiotic.

“I think that the research has really broken through a barrier. It used to be that wounds could only heal at a certain rate,” said Dr. Knighton. “We now know that that can be affected by lots of different therapies.”

jcameron@cjournal.ca