In recent years, many investigations on the development of innovative dressing materials with potential applications, e.g., for cytostatics delivery, have been performed. One of the most promising carriers is albumin, which tends to accumulate near cancer cells. Here, chitosan-based hydrogels containing albumin spheres and Aloe vera juice, designed for the treatment of skin cancers or burn wounds resulting from radiotherapy, were developed. The presence of albumin in hydrogel matrices was confirmed via Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) and Raman spectroscopy. Albumin spheres were clearly visible in microscopic images. It was proved that the introduction of albumin into hydrogels resulted in their increased resistance to the tensile load, i.e., approximately 30% more force was needed to break such materials. Modified hydrogels showed approximately 10% more swelling ability. All hydrogels were characterized by hydrophilicity (contact angles were <90°) which may support the regeneration of epithelial cells and non-cytotoxicity towards murine fibroblasts L929 and released Aloe vera juice more effectively in an acidic environment than in a neutral one wherein spheres introduced into the hydrogel matrix extended the release time. Thus, the developed materials, due to their chemical composition and physicochemical properties, constitute promising materials with great application potential for biomedical purposes.
Keywords: Aloe vera juice; albumin particles; chitosan hydrogels; hydrogel dressings; swelling ability; tensile load; wettability.