American and Chinese researchers have developed an electric dressing capable of healing a wound five times faster than a conventional dressing.
In recent years researchers have been competing for ideas to accelerate wound healing. Researchers at the University of New Hampshire (USA) recently developed an injectable hydrogel dressing that can promote tissue healing. The latest discovery of US and Chinese researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the United States brings additional hope in the rapid treatment of acute wounds. They have developed a self-powered electrified dressing that can speed healing of an injury.
Specifically, the new device is powered by energy from natural body movements, transmitting light electrical impulses on the injury. The dressing is connected to a band containing energy recovery units called nanogenerators, wrapped around the torso of the wearer. The opening and contraction of the thoracic cavity with the respiratory movement feeds these nanogenerators, which then produce low-intensity electrical pulses. There’s no risk of damaging healthy tissue with this futuristic dressing, unlike traditional high-power electrotherapy devices, says Xudong Wang, a professor of science and engineering at Wisconsin-Madison University who collaborated on the development of this dressing. “Our device is as practical as a dressing that you put on your skin,” observes Xudong Wang. With this dressing, the fibroblasts (skin support cells, responsible for the production of collagen and elastin) would be stimulated and align more quickly, accelerating healing five times faster than conventional dressings.
For the moment the device has only been tested on rats. They will then later experimented on pigs. If the experiment succeeds, the system can then be studied on humans. “We believe that our nanogenerators could be the most effective electrical stimulation approach for many therapeutic applications,” Wang said.
And since nanogenerators are made of relatively common materials, the dressing should be offered at an affordable price, the researchers say.