Scientists have developed a smart bandage that can accurately control the dose and delivery schedule of the medication made for a specific type of wound, leading to faster healing.
The bandage, developed by researchers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US, is made of composite fibers with a core electrical heater covered by a layer of hydrogel containing thermo responsive drug carriers.
The gel can be individually loaded with antibiotics, tissue-regenerating growth hormones, painkillers or other medications, researchers said.
A stamp-sized microcontroller which could be triggered by a smartphone or other wireless device, sends small amounts of voltage through a chosen fibre.
That voltage heats the fibre and its hydrogel, releasing the dose-dependent drug it contains.
A single bandage could accommodate multiple medications assigned to a specific type of wound, researchers said.
Ali Tamayol, an assistant professor at University of Nebraska-Lincoln said that smart bandage was given the ability to accurately control the dose and delivery schedule of those medications in order to substantially improve or accelerate the healing process.
“This is the first bandage that is capable of dose- dependent drug release. You can release multiple drugs with different release profiles.
“That is a big advantage in comparison with other systems. What we did here was come up with a strategy for building a bandage from the bottom up,” Tamayol said.
When compared with a dry bandage, the team’s version regrew three times as much of the blood-rich tissue critical to the healing process.
Another experiment (not on humans) showed that an antibiotic-loaded version of the bandage could eradicate infection-causing bacteria.
In addition to further testing to satisfy the FDA, investigations are still carried out on how to integrate sensors into the fibers. This is to enable the measurement of blood glucose levels, pH and other indicators of how the healing process is going. Maybe in a short time your bandages will even include a progress bar.