Smart Bandages Improve Healing without Scarring
Smart bandages are a hot topic in wearable tech development. Recent smart bandage designs differ in specific applications, but typically share two functions: wound monitoring and treatment delivery. We wrote about MIT’s smart bandage that releases medication when it detects inflammation. A Harvard-based team developed nanofiber technology that uses plant and animal protein to construct fibronectin scaffolding that promotes healing.
Researchers from the University of Connecticut UCONN Bioengineering Department designed a platform that delivers patient-specific doses of various medications based on instructions from remote care providers. The UCONN drug delivery system uses a wireless connection to control a smart bandage developed by a separate group from the University of Nebraska-Lincon and Harvard Medical School. This device has tiny needles that can be controlled remotely to deliver medications.
According to UCONN associate professor Dr. Ali Tamayol, different stages of tissue regeneration require different medications during wound healing. A technology that can deliver multiple meds at different times means that the same bandage can remain in place. In tests published in the Advanced Functional Materials Journal, diabetic mice with chronic wounds healed completely with no scars when treated using the UCONN delivery system.
The single bandage for multiple medications has the potential to improve wound care and reduce fatalities. This application has special significance for diabetic patients who are prone to develop chronic wounds, especially foot ulcers, due to poor blood circulation. The fact that the system can be controlled remotely is a bonus, especially during this time of increased interest in telehealth and remote patient monitoring.
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