Difficult to manage wounds do not heal oftentimes because topical medications can’t be administered in a controlled fashion and just when needed. To apply a drug onto a chronic wound, the dressing has to be removed, exposing the wound to potential infections and causing a good deal of discomfort to the patient. Now researches from University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Harvard Medical School, and MIT have brought together their expertise in different fields to create a smart bandage that releases meds in a precise manner.
The bandage is based on cotton threads that are wrapped by a conductive shell. These threads are also encapsulated by a hydrogel coating within which antibiotics, growth factors, or other drugs can be safely embedded. The conductive, drug laden threads are laid out in a criss-cross pattern. Electric current can then be passed through any two threads that are perpendicular to each other, heating up the area where the threads intersect and melting the hydrogel coating, releasing the encapsulated drugs. The technology reminds us of how computer random-access memory (RAM) used to function back in the early days of digital computing. In the future, the researchers envision the bandage would have WiFi capabilities, allowing its release of drugs to be carefully controlled via a smartphone or other device.
The researchers were able to embed antibiotics and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) within the hydrogel of the new bandage and successfully tested its antibiotic properties in an in-vitro study. They also evaluated the effectiveness of VEGF being delivered through the new bandage on live rats with diabetic wounds, demonstrating its ability to speed up healing in living beings.
Study in Advanced Functional Materials: A Textile Dressing for Temporal and Dosage Controlled Drug Delivery…