Health

Smart Bandages Nurse Your Wounds

By Nayanah SivaJun 13, 2011 12:00 AM

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news
 

Two new self-medicating bandages promise to keep serious wounds free of infection. Toby Jenkins of the University of Bath in England and colleagues are designing a dressing that releases antimicrobials from nanocapsules when bacterial toxins appear in a wound. The harmful bacteria also prompt the dressing to change color, alerting doctors to a potential infection. Jenkins believes a bandage that can spot and treat an infection faster than clinicians can will be particularly beneficial for burn victims—nearly 50 percent of all burn-related deaths result from infection. Fewer dressing changes will also reduce scarring and speed healing, he says. The team completed preliminary testing of the antibiotic release response in December and hopes to begin bandage trials on pigs within two years.

Meanwhile, cell biologist Paul Durham and his team from Missouri State University are working on a multitasking bandage layered with antifungal, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory agents for use on a variety of wounds, including deep cuts and punctures. In the initial prototype, a battery-powered time-release mechanism will dispense the medications, but ultimately the researchers hope to incorporate chemical sensors that will trigger drug release in response to changes in the wound. Durham expects to begin preliminary human testing next year.

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month
Already a subscriber? Log In or Register
1 free articleSubscribe
Want unlimited access?

Subscribe today and save 70%

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? Log In or Register
More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Join
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

 
Subscribe
To The Magazine

Save up to 70% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2021 Kalmbach Media Co.