This is a recurring problem on which science has made little progress over time. It is sometimes necessary to wait for very long weeks, four to six on average, for a wound to heal. Also in some cases, the scar is quite large. But that could change thanks to a smart bandage developed by researchers at the prestigious Stanford University.
An impressive medical device
Glad to share my postdoc work on developing wireless smart bandages for chronic wound management. Thanks to @artemtrotsyuk and @SimiaoNiu for the great collaboration, @zhenanbao and @GeoffreyGurtner for the mentorship, and other coauthors for all the help and support! https://t.co/Ju20iJS5Rl
— Yuanwen Jiang (@JiangYuanwen) November 25, 2022
Concretely, the latter integrates biosensors and a wireless electrical stimulation device to help patients heal. It is aimed specifically at people whose wounds are said to heal slowly.
Comprised of wireless circuitry, this bandage uses temperature sensors to monitor wound healing. If it deteriorates, the system, connected to a smartphone, then intervenes and applies electrical stimulation to accelerate the closure of the skin tissues, thereby reducing the risk of infection.
As detailed BGR, this dressing is also covered with a hydrogel which contains a polymer preventing bacteria from coming into contact with the wound. We are therefore dealing with a system that is promising to say the least and adapted to certain types of injuries.
According to the newspaper The echoes, the first results are good. In mice, the group healed 25% faster and a 50% improvement in thermal remodeling was seen compared to the control group.
The smart bandage could be a godsend for all people who have chronic wounds, report our colleagues. They are indeed millions to suffer from leg ulcers and diabetes, a pathology that slows healing. While regular follow-up with the doctor is necessary, the bandage should make it much easier to manage this recurring problem.
Some challenges remain
However, it should not be too inflamed. This concept, published last November in the journal ” Nature Biotechnology still has to overcome some pitfalls. If it works on mice, it will indeed be necessary to check that the system still works when we go to the human scale.
Similarly, the device remains quite expensive and it will be necessary to reduce its cost for a wider deployment. The researchers also noted that “the possible rejection of the hydrogel by the skin and the biofouling of the sensors, which can cause irritation”, detail the economic daily. Scientists are nonetheless very optimistic about their smart dressing, which, it is true, heralds great medical progress.