Smart Bandages

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A team of engineers led by Tufts University has developed a prototype bandage designed to actively monitor the condition of chronic wounds and deliver appropriate drug treatments to improve the chances of healing.

While the lab-tested bandages remain to be assessed in a clinical context, the research, published today in the journal Small, is aimed at transforming bandaging from a traditionally passive treatment into a more active paradigm to address a persistent and difficult medical challenge.

With the idea of providing an assist to the natural healing process, the researchers designed the bandages with heating elements and thermoresponsive drug carriers that can deliver tailored treatments in response to embedded pH and temperature sensors that track infection and inflammation.

The smart bandages have 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.