US Scientists Develop A Disposable 'Smart Bandage' That Helps In Healing Chronic Wounds

A smart patch that has been created by researchers can monitor healing, administer medicines to wounds, and use electrical signals to drive tissue growth.

US Scientists Develop A Disposable 'Smart Bandage' That Helps In Healing Chronic Wounds

Images of the fingertip-sized stretchable and flexible wearable patch.

A team of US scientists has created the Smart Patch, a stretchable, wireless, wearable bioelectronic system for multiplexed monitoring and combined therapy of infected chronic wounds. Those with burns, diabetic ulcers, and non-healing surgical wounds may benefit from this tiny gadget.

In a study published in the journal Science Advances on Friday, the researchers tested the barely-there bandage, which is "biocompatible, mechanically flexible, stretchable, and skin-conformal," on rodents.

"The device consists of two parts: one reusable flexible printed circuit board and one disposable patch," said Dr. Gao, per The Guardian. "The disposable patch contains biosensors, electrodes, and drug-loaded hydrogels."

According to the study, "the disposable wearable patch consists of a multimodal biosensor array for simultaneous and multiplexed electrochemical sensing of wound exudate biomarkers, a stimulus-responsive electroactive hydrogel loaded with a dual-function anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial peptide (AMP), as well as a pair of voltage-modulated electrodes for controlled drug release and electrical stimulation."

"All the signals can be wirelessly sent to a user interface [such as] a computer or a cellphone," said Gao.

"We can wirelessly control the drug release by applying electrical potential."

The team describes how they tested the smart bandages on diabetic mouse and rat wounds both before and after infection, discovering that the devices could detect characteristics such as the temperature, glucose levels, and pH of the wound fluid.

"The wearable patch's therapeutic capability towards enhanced tissue regeneration via electrical stimulation was assessed using an in vitro wound healing assay. The model wound treated with electrical stimulation showed substantially faster and more consistent migration of HDF cells towards the wound area for four subsequent days after wounding as compared to the control group without electrical stimulation," the study mentioned.