TCMH is a Testing Ground for New Wound Therapy Technology

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Ellen Willis, wound therapist at Texas County Memorial Hospital, uses Mirragen to treat a wound on the foot of Jerry Rader. Willis saw more closure in two weeks of therapy using Mirragen on Rader’s foot than the previous two months of treating the foot with traditional methods.

For the past several months some patients at Texas County Memorial Hospital have had the opportunity to test Mirragen, a new wound therapy product from ETS Wound Care in Rolla.

Mirragen, developed by Missouri Science and Technology student and ceramic engineer, Steve Jung, is a bioactive resorbable glass fiber technology that has been found to help wounds heal faster.  As a glass fiber, Mirragen can also be used for wounds with challenging geometries.

Bioactive glass has been used since the 1960’s to grow bone tissue.  The silica used in bioactive glass was not a suitable product for growing soft tissue, but Jung used boron in a glass fiber that was found to help heal soft tissue.  The borate-based fiber is sturdy and durable for a period of time, but it also breaks down and dissolves as soft tissue heals.

Mirragen was tested on patients for almost 10 years and received approval from the Food and Drug Administration in 2017.  It is the only product of its kind in the world, and it’s slated for release to the broader domestic market later this year.

As part of a controlled domestic release, Ellen Willis, board certified wound therapist at TCMH, received a donation of Mirragen product to use on some difficult wound cases at TCMH.

About half of Willis’s work as a therapist involves wound care.  She provides wound care to TCMH inpatients, outpatients and TCMH Home Health of the Ozarks patients.

“With the use of Mirragen, I was able to see positive improvement on chronic wounds within one to two weeks,” Willis said.

Willis considers a “chronic” wound to be a wound that has been open for more than a month.  Some of Willis’s chronic wound patients have wounds that have not healed for a year or more.

Because Mirragen is a fiber made up of layers, it can be placed on all areas of the wound—bone, tendon, and facia.  Mirragen can also be used on wounds that cannot be treated with negative pressure wound therapy—a traditional treatment for large wounds or wounds that are not healing.

The borate-based fiber resembles the microstructure of a clot, which might help a wound heal on its own.  Mirragen also absorbs up to 400 percent of the wound’s moisture, another important factor in wound therapy.

With one difficult wound in a patient at TCMH, Willis saw more closure in a month of treatment with Mirragen than she had seen in nine months of traditional wound therapy.

“I used Mirragen on this patient when all of my normal wound therapies had not worked,” Willis said.  She noted that in trials Mirragen had “incredible success” with diabetic and pressure ulcers, common wounds that Willis treats at TCMH.

Mirragen has also been tested and proven effective on venous ulcers, burns, surgical incisions and donor/recipient graft sites.

Currently, Willis has only treated patients with donated Mirragen product because it’s “very expensive”.  Due to the newness of Mirragen to the market, it’s not a reimbursable product for Willis to use on most of her patients.

Mirragen is sold in small packets of four-inch by four-inch, two-inch by two-inch or one-inch by six-inch devices.

ETS Wound Care has a mission to help to serve patient in underserved areas like the Ozarks where the product was developed.  ETS committed to working with Willis and a few TCMH patients so Willis could try the product.

“There are always variables in treating wounds,” Willis said. “Different body chemistries respond to treatment in different ways, but overall Mirragen will be a great tool in the wound therapy toolbox.”

ETS hopes to continue to grow borate-based bioactive technology to develop and commercialize a broad range of breakthrough solutions for the wound care market.

“We appreciate the mission of ETS to minimize the cost of treatment and improve patient outcomes,” Wes Murray, TCMH chief executive officer, said.  “We were honored to be asked to be part of their continuing studies and receive donated product to use with some of our patients.”

Murray explained that ETS hopes that the Ozark region can become known as a place where some of the best wound care in the world is available.

“Wound therapy is a growing need in our area, and we hope we can continue to use Mirragen and help ETS achieve their mission,” Murray said.

TCMH has grown wound therapy services at the hospital over the past few years, and Jason Loden, DO, a general surgeon joining the hospital in the summer of 2018, has hopes of making wound care a portion of his practice.

“With Dr. Loden’s and Ellen’s interest and skills in wound care we should be able to provide more wound therapy services in to our patients in the upcoming year,” Murray said.

Currently Willis is limited in the scope of wound therapy services she’s able to provide without a physician working alongside her.

“When Dr. Loden gets here, he will be able to oversee some new wound therapies for our patients,” Willis said.  “It will be a great benefit for our area patients.”

For additional information about wound therapy at TCMH, contact Willis at (417) 967-1270.  Additional information about Mirragen is available at etissuesolutions.com.

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