Researchers develop wound-healing, self-adhesive dressing
Researchers at Ohio State University have created a portable adhesive patch that drives a small, continuous electrical current to reduce the risk of infection and to stimulate healing, according to a press release from the university’s Center for Clinical and Translational Science.
With support from Ohio State’s Center for Clinical and Translational Science, researchers from the College of Engineering and the College of Medicine have optimized the design of the bandage and the amount of electrical current delivered, according to the release. The new experimental dressing, made of silver and silk, includes a self-contained battery that delivers a small, continuous, low-level electrical current to the injury.
Early results, which were previously presented at the Wound Healing Society’s Annual Meeting in April, showed infected wounds covered by the bioelectric dressing healed better and quicker than those covered with a plain wound dressing. Researchers hypothesize that the electrical currents may interrupt the bacteria by either weakening the molecular structure of existing biofilms and therefore, making them more susceptible to antibiotics, or by disrupting the production of chemical messages that instruct bacteria to develop biofilms, the release noted.
“We are hoping this new design may allow electric fields and currents to penetrate more deeply into wounds, and get to where these biofilms may be hiding,” Vish Subramaniam, PhD, chair of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Ohio State, said in the release.
“The destruction of the biofilm would enable antibiotics to start killing off bacteria, reduce chronic inflammation and allow the body’s natural immune response to work more effectively. Bacteria are known to quickly acquire resistance against antibiotics, but to our knowledge, bacteria do not develop resistance against electroceuticals.”
Sashwati Roy, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Surgery at Ohio State’s College of Medicine, noted that the U. S. Department of Defense is interested in the dressing to help prevent infection in wounded soldiers on the battlefront.
“This technology has a long shelf-life and is compact enough to be put into any field medical kit,” he said. “It could be applied immediately to wounds to help keep bacteria from mobilizing and start promoting healing until the soldier could be transported to a facility for more intensive medical care.”
According to the release, the team reportedly has interest from several industry partners, and is planning to test the new technology in patients before the end of the year.
Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures