Chronic wounds affect 6.5 million patients in the United States alone. An aging population and increases in diabetes and obesity (which can lead to diabetes) are contributing factors to the rising need for wound care.
Those who have diabetes are more likely to suffer from chronic wounds because the high glucose levels in the blood can cause poor circulation, which makes it more difficult for a wound to heal. A wound that takes much longer than normal to heal can become infected and cause more problems, some of which can be life threatening.
How it works
Researchers at the University of Connecticut have developed a “smart bandage” that could help chronic wounds heal more effectively. The team designed a wirelessly controlled bandage and corresponding smartphone platform that can precisely deliver different medications to the wound with independent dosing. The bandage is equipped with miniature needles that can be controlled via smartphone. Drugs can be administered by care providers remotely.
As a wound heals, different medications are needed at different stages of tissue regeneration. The smart bandage can deliver medicine with minimal invasiveness. The doctor can wirelessly control the release of multiple drugs delivered through the miniature needles. These needles are able to penetrate into deeper layers of the wound bed with minimal pain and inflammation. This method proved to be more effective compared to the topical administration of drugs.
Dr. Ali Tamayol, Associate Professor of Biochemical Engineering at the University of Connecticut, who developed the bandage, said in a statement that this could be a major change in how chronic wounds are treated. “This is an important step in engineering advanced bandages that can facilitate the healing of hard to treat wounds. The bandage does not need to be changed continuously.” A patent for the bandage is currently pending.