University of Akron professors Daniel Smith and Darrell Reneker are hoping to have nanobandages commercially available as early as 2008. Currently they are testing the anti-inflammatory and bactericidal properties of these nanofibers on the Leishmania-ridden people of Columbia.
Professors Daniel Smith and Darrell Reneker used electricity to spin ultrafine polymer fibers while infusing them with chemicals that open a wound to oxygen.
The treated fibers reduce inflammation, kill bacteria and repair slow-healing wounds faster than conventional methods, Smith said.
The “nanofiber bandage” is particularly helpful for diabetics because the dressing releases nitric oxide gas, a natural chemical diabetics don’t produce enough of, but one that is crucial for body repair.
As a bonus, the electrospun fibers are inexpensive, lightweight and elastic, and conform to any wound without sticking, he said.
The first human trials are winding up in Colombia. The South American country was chosen because it was easier to find people suffering parasitic lesions, a challenging wound that will highlight the bandage’s strengths.
Smith and Reneker hope the results of those trials will win them FDA approval for clinical trials in the United States.
The university has found a Minnesota firm to make the bandages, but is encouraging the company to build the plant here.
The company, which Smith didn’t want to identify yet, has a reputation for awarding plants to the areas where the technology is developed. He predicted the bandages will be ready for production by 2008 “at the latest.”
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(hat tip: Medpundit)