A team of engineers from Tufts University has designed a prototype bandage designed to monitor the condition of chronic wounds and deliver the appropriate drug treatments.
The research behind the prototype bandage was published recently in the journal Small.
“We’ve been able to take a new approach to bandages because of the emergence of flexible electronics,” says Sameer Sonkusale, PhD, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Tufts University’s School of Engineering and corresponding co-author for the study, in a media release from Tufts University.
“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.”
Temperature and pH sensors are embedded in the bandage. A microprocessor reads the data obtained from the sensors and releases healing drugs on demand from its carriers by heating the gel.
The entire construct is attached to a transparent medical tape to form a flexible bandage less than 3 mm thick. Components were selected to keep the bandage low cost and disposable, except for the microprocessor, which can be re-used, the release explains.
“The smart bandage we created, with pH and temperature sensors and antibiotic drug delivery, is really a prototype for a wide range of possibilities,” Sonkusale continues. “One can imagine embedding other sensing components, drugs, and growth factors that treat different conditions in response to different healing markers.”
The smart bandages have been created and tested successfully under in vitro conditions. Pre-clinical studies are now underway to determine their in vivo clinical advantages in facilitating healing compared to traditional bandages and wound care products, the release concludes.
[Source(s): Tufts University, Science Daily]