Researchers have developed a self-powered bandage that generates an electric field over an injury, which they suggest may dramatically reduce the healing time for skin wounds—such as diabetic foot ulcers, venous ulcers, and non-healing surgical wounds—in rats.
Results from their research into this self-powered bandage are published in ACS Nano.
As early as the 1960s, researchers observed that electrical stimulation could help skin wounds heal. However, the equipment for generating the electric field is often large and may require patient hospitalization. Weibo Cai, Xudong Wang, and colleagues wanted to develop a flexible, self-powered bandage that could convert skin movements into a therapeutic electric field, a media release from the American Chemical Society explains.
To power their electric bandage, or e-bandage, the researchers made a wearable nanogenerator by overlapping sheets of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), copper foil, and polyethylene terephthalate (PET). The nanogenerator converted skin movements, which occur during normal activity or even breathing, into small electrical pulses. This current flowed to two working electrodes that were placed on either side of the skin wound to produce a weak electric field.
The team tested the device by placing it over wounds on rats’ backs. Wounds covered by e-bandages closed within 3 days, compared with 12 days for a control bandage with no electric field. The researchers attribute the faster wound healing to enhanced fibroblast migration, proliferation, and differentiation induced by the electric field, the release continues.
[Source(s): American Chemical Society, Science Daily]