May 2020

UCONN BIOMEDICAL ENGINEER CREATES SMART BANDAGES TO HEAL CHRONIC WOUNDS

A UConn researcher has helped develop a new smart bandage that could change the way diabetic wounds are treated. Image courtesy of Ali Tamayol, PhD.

Diabetes-related chronic and non-healing wounds are a leading cause of limb amputation in the United States. Due to the complex nature of these wounds, proper clinical treatment has been limited. Now, for what they say is the first time, faculty in the University of Connecticut (UConn) Biomedical Engineering Department designed a wirelessly controlled bandage and corresponding smartphone-sized platform that can precisely deliver different medications to the wound with independent dosing.

This smart bandage was developed by Ali Tamayol, PhD, an associate professor with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) College of Engineering, along with researchers from UNL and Harvard Medical School. The bandage is equipped with miniature needles that can be controlled wirelessly, allowing the drugs to be programmed remotely by care providers. The needles can penetrate deeper layers of the wound bed with minimal pain and inflammation. This method proved to be more effective for wound closure and hair growth as compared to the topical administration of drugs, and it is minimally invasive, the researchers said.

The research, recently published in the journal Advanced Functional Materials, was first conducted on cells and later diabetic mice with full-thickness skin injuries. With this technology, the mice showed signs of complete healing and lack of scar formation, showing the bandages’ ability to significantly improve the rate and quality of wound healing in diabetic animals.

These findings can potentially replace existing wound care systems and significantly reduce the morbidity of chronic wounds.

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