Smart Bandage to Enhance Wound Healing
A team of engineers from Tufts University in the US have developed a prototype bandage to monitor the condition of chronic wounds and deliver the right therapy to enhance healing.
The smart bandages used in this research work were designed with heating elements and thermo-responsive drug carriers in order to deliver timely treatments. It combines both temperature and pH sensors to track the signs of infection.
Additionally, sensors for oxygenation were also integrated into the bandage. Wound inflammation could be easily tracked by biomarkers. The microprocessor reads the information from sensors and releases drugs from its carriers accordingly by heating the gel. The entire creation is attached to a transparent medical tape that forms a flexible bandage less than 3mm in thickness.
Dr. Sameer Sonkusale, the corresponding co-author and a professor of electrical and computer engineering from Tufts University said, “We’ve been able to take a new approach to bandages because of the emergence of flexible electronics. In fact, flexible electronics have made many wearable medical devices possible, but bandages have changed little since the beginnings of medicine. We are simply applying modern technology to an ancient art in the hopes of improving outcomes for an intractable problem.”
Dr. Sonkusale further added, “The smart bandage we created, with pH and temperature sensors and antibiotic drug delivery, is really a prototype for a wide range of possibilities. One can imagine embedding other sensing components, drugs, and growth factors that treat different conditions in response to different healing markers.”
These bandages were tested successfully in a lab. Still, in-vivo testing remains pending in order to detect its overall healing capacity.