Medical

Remote-control bandage delivers fresh meds without being removed

Remote-control bandage deliver...
A diagram of the "smart" bandage, with its miniature needles pictured top-left
A diagram of the "smart" bandage, with its miniature needles pictured top-left
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A diagram of the "smart" bandage, with its miniature needles pictured top-left
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A diagram of the "smart" bandage, with its miniature needles pictured top-left

The treatment of chronic wounds often involves the application of different medications, at different stages in the healing process. A newly-developed electronic bandage could allow this to happen, but without having to be removed for each application.

Building upon a previously-developed device, the bandage is being created by a team from the University of Connecticut, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Harvard Medical School.

It's equipped with small reservoirs of the required drugs. When selectively activated by a smartphone-sized wireless controller, miniature needles on the underside of those reservoirs deliver the medication relatively deep into the wound. The procedure is claimed to be fairly painless.

According to the scientists, injecting the drugs in this manner is more effective than simply applying them to the skin. Perhaps more importantly, though, the setup doesn't require the bandage to be taken off – and the wound to be disturbed – every time more medication needs to be administered. In fact, the bandage could conceivably be operated over the internet, with the caregiver not even in the same room as the patient.

The technology was recently found to be superior to the topical application of medication, when used to treat full-thickness skin wounds on diabetic mice. The animals' injuries healed completely, with a minimum of scarring.

"This is an important step in engineering advanced bandages that can facilitate the healing of hard-to-treat wounds," says U Connecticut's Assoc. Prof. Ali Tamayol. "The bandage does not need to be changed continuously."

The research is described in a paper that was published this week in the journal Advanced Functional Materials.

Source: University of Connecticut

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