Bandage with integrated pH and temperature sensors electronically trigger the release of drug to improve healing
Engineers at Tufts University have developed a prototype of smart bandage designed to monitor the condition of chronic wounds and deliver appropriate drug treatments to improve the chances of healing.
The research is aimed at transforming bandaging from a traditional passive treatment into an active paradigm to address a persistent and difficult medical challenge.
Track infection and inflammation
Chronic skin wounds from burns, diabetes, and other medical conditions can overwhelm the regenerative capabilities of the skin and often lead to persistent infections and amputations.
It is designed to assist the natural healing process with heating elements and thermoresponsive drug carriers that can deliver treatments in response to embedded pH and temperature sensors that track infection and inflammation.
Release drug on demand
The microprocessor reads the data from the sensors and releases drug on demand from its carriers by heating the gel. The entire construct is attached to a transparent medical tape to form a flexible bandage less than 3 mm thick. Well, the smart bandages could provide real-time monitoring and delivery of treatment with limited intervention from the patient or caregivers.
Temperature and pH for healing wounds
Normal healing wounds fall within the range of pH 5.5 to 6.5, whereas non-healing infected wounds can have pH well above 6.5. While temperature provides information on the level of inflammation in and around the wound. Therefore these smart bandages combine pH and temperature sensors to heal wounds.
The prototype of smart bandages has been created and tested successfully under in vitro conditions. Pre-clinical studies are now underway to determine their in vivo clinical advantages in facilitating healing compared to traditional bandages and wound care products.