An innovative medical device that has the potential to revolutionize healing has been created by Northwestern University researchers: an electrotherapy patch that speeds up wound healing and securely self-disintegrates when no longer required.
This innovative bandage was tested on diabetic ulcers in animal trials, showing over 30% faster healing than untreated lesions.
It might be crucial for diabetics whose sores can result in debilitating outcomes like amputation of limbs or even mortality.
In the US, an estimated 30 million individuals have diabetes. For many people, diabetes-related nerve injury can result in other health problems like diabetic foot ulcers.
Due to the reduced blood flow caused by the increased glucose levels that thicken capillary walls, these difficult-to-heal wounds are especially hazardous.
Electrical stimulus therapy has been investigated as a potential treatment: Electrical currents help draw essential nutrients required to heal stubborn wounds by restoring the body's normal signals.
The scientists have created a thin, flexible bandage that can be applied to the wound rapidly. This ground-breaking system makes use of two exquisitely crafted electrodes: a small flower-shaped electrode that rests atop wounds and a large ring-shaped electrode that is applied to healthy tissue.
An energy-harvesting coil that uses Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to safely transfer data in real time powers all of this.
With these features, a wireless electronic remote can quickly operate the device. Doctors can control the timing of the electrical stimulus while also keeping an eye on the healing process from a distance.
The electrode disintegrates in your body after the wound has healed, eliminating the need to remove it.
The team is testing on a larger animal model and ultimately on humans to advance their ground-breaking bandage for diabetic ulcers.
This bandage accelerates natural healing processes, unlike traditional medications or biologics, so it might move from the research stage to patient use much more quickly than normal.