Wound care innovation for the tropics


Chronic non-healing wounds (diabetic foot ulcers, pressure injuries, and venous leg ulcers) disproportionately affect the elderly population. Tropical climate further complicates the prognosis of chronic wounds as a humid and warm environment is favourable for bacterial infection. Chronic wounds such as diabetic foot ulcers often lead to amputations and pose significant health care challenges to clinicians. Singapore has the second-highest proportion of people with diabetes among developed nations and roughly around four diabetes-related amputations in a day. Better care and treatments for diabetic foot ulcers and other chronic wounds could prevent poor prognosis and save lives. Chronic wounds incur high costs and negatively impact mobility, well-being, and quality of life.

Our Approach

The Wound Care Innovation for the Tropics (WCIT) programme is a  first-of-its-kind research program focusing on wound care in tropical climates. Our focus is to transform the care of chronic wounds, deliver better health outcomes and reduce economic burdens.

Our approach encompasses the following areas of research

  1. World's largest library of Asian chronic wound samples to identify biomarkers and drug targets.
  2. Develop innovations in advance dressings, diagnostics, and practice support patients.
  3. Improved wound models to support preclinical testing.
  4. First central wound registry in Asia with over 800 patients to improve health service delivery.
  5. Forge strong clinical ties with five new wound-focused center's set up in Singapore in the past two years.

By accelerating the development of novel wound care therapies and practices, our programme aims to position Singapore as a new focal point in Asia for its world-class research and development in the field of chronic wounds.

Key Publications

1. Goh OQ, Ganesan G, Graves N, et al. Incidence of chronic wounds in Singapore, a multiethnic Asian country, between 2000 and 2017: a retrospective cohort study using a nationwide claims database. BMJ Open 2020;10:e039411. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2020-039411

2. Lo ZJ, Lim X, Eng D, Car J, Hong Q, Yong E, Zhang L, Chandrasekar S, Tan GWL, Chan YM, Sim SC, Oei CW, Zhang X, Dharmawan A, Ng YZ, Harding K, Upton Z, Yap CW, Heng BH. Clinical and economic burden of wound care in the tropics: a 5-year institutional population health review. Int Wound J. 2020 Jun;17(3):790-803. doi: 10.1111/iwj.13333. Epub 2020 Mar 9. PMID: 32149471; PMCID: PMC7948834.

3. Maxim V. Kiryukhin*, Hooi Hong Lau, Su Hui Lim, Giorgiana Salgado, Chen Fan, Yi Zhen Ng, David I. Leavesley, and Zee Upton. Arrays of Biocompatible and Mechanically Robust Microchambers Made of Protein–Polyphenol–Clay Multilayer Films. ACS Biomater. Sci. Eng. 2020, 6, 10, doi.org/10.1021/acsbiomaterials.0c00973

4. Wu Y, Raju C, Hou Z, Si Z, Xu C, Pranantyo D, Marimuthu K, De PP, Ng OT, Pethe K, Kang ET, Chan-Park MB. Mixed-charge pseudo-zwitterionic copolymer brush as broad spectrum antibiofilm coating. Biomaterials. 2021 Jun;273:120794. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2021.120794 Epub 2021 Apr 5. PMID: 33887644.

5. Upton Z, Fernandez M. Wound Care Innovation for the Tropics-An Industry-Facing Singaporean Initiative Focussed on Wounds and Wound Care in Asian Populations. Int Wound J. 2018 Apr;15(2):183-184. doi: 10.1111/iwj.12919.PMID: 29683268; PMCID: PMC7950040.

6. Fan C, El Andaloussi S, Lehto T, Kong KW, Seow Y. Smad binding decoy reduces extracellular matrix expression in human hypertrophic scar fibroblasts. Mol Med Rep. 2020 Dec;22(6):4589-4600. doi: 10.3892/mmr.2020.11549.Epub 2020 Sep 29. PMID: 33173952; PMCID: PMC7646840.

7. Leung CM , Dhand C , Mayandi V , Ramalingam R , Lim FP , Barathi VA , Dwivedi N , Orive G , Beuerman RW , Ramakrishna S , Toh YC , Loh XJ , Verma NK , Chua AWC , Lakshminarayanan R . Wound healing properties of magnesium mineralized antimicrobial nanofibre dressings containing chondroitin sulphate - a comparison between blend and core-shell nanofibres. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1039/D0BM00530D Biomater Sci. 2020 Jun 21;8(12):3454-3471.

8. Chan KS, Chan YM, Tan AHM, Liang S, Cho YT, Hong Q, Yong E, Chong LRC, Zhang L, Tan GWL, Chandrasekar S, Lo ZJ. Clinical validation of an artificial intelligence-enabled wound imaging mobile application in diabetic foot ulcers. Int Wound J. 2021 May 4. DOI: 10.1111/iwj.13603 Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33942998.

9. Foong HF, Kyaw BM, Upton Z, Tudor Car L. Facilitators and barriers of using digital technology for the management of diabetic foot ulcers: A qualitative systematic review. Int Wound J. 2020 Oct;17(5):1266-1281. 10.1111/iwj.13396. Epub 2020 May 10. PMID: 32390305; PMCID: PMC7948580.

10. Chua HM, Zhao Z, Ng KW. 2020 Nov;41(21):e2000254. Cryogelation of Human Hair Keratins. Macromol Rapid Commun https://doi.org/10.1002/marc.202000254 Epub 2020 Aug 9. PMID: 32776404.

11. Djordjevic I, Pokholenko O, Shah AH, Wicaksono G, Blancafort L, Hanna JV, Page SJ, Nanda HS, Ong CB, Chung SR, Chin AYH, McGrouther D, Choudhury MM, Li F, Teo JS, Lee LS, Steele TWJ. CaproGlu: Multifunctional tissue adhesive platform. DOI: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2020.120215 Biomaterials. 2020 Nov;260:120215. Epub 2020 Jul 11. PMID: 32891870.


Contact us

For more information on the WCIT Programme, please contact Jason Kow from the Strategic Partnerships and Business Development team.