Chronic wounds, such as those associated with diabetes, can be incredibly difficult to manage. Even the process of accessing and medicating the wound can be detrimental to healing. Researchers from University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Harvard Medical School, and University of Connecticut are now reporting on having developed an electronic bandage that can deliver multiple drugs deep into a wound and only when programmed to do so.
Wounds require different drugs at different stages of progression, but simply placing topical medication on the wound is not optimal. The new bandage has tiny needles that penetrate into the wounded tissue and electronically controlled drug chambers can be activated to push drugs through the needles. No bandage changes are necessary during drug administration, so the wound is allowed to stay covered for longer.
The bandage is wirelessly controlled and can be operated using a smartphone, allowing clinicians or even patients themselves to regulate the drug release.
The system has already been tried in diabetic mice with skin injuries and the device helped the mice to heal nearly completely, and even minimized scar formation at the wound sites. This is pretty remarkable and will hopefully lead to similar results when trialed in humans.
There’s already a patent application filed for the new bandage, so hopefully it will soon be available to help overcome one of the most intractable issues in medicine.
Study in journal Advanced Functional Materials: A Wirelessly Controlled Smart Bandage with 3D‐Printed Miniaturized Needle Arrays