A regenerative bandage that can quickly heal painful, hard-to-treat sores and wounds without using drugs has been developed by a Northwestern University team in the USA.
According to the study, the new bandage uses laminin, a protein found in most of the body’s tissues including the skin and can be used to heal all types of open wounds.
The bandage is good news for diabetic patients since a mild untreated scratch for them may turn into an open wound that could potentially lead to a limb amputation or even death.
During back-to-back tests, the bandage healed diabetic wounds 33 percent faster than one of the most popular bandages currently on the market.
Team leader Guillermo Ameer, professor of biomedical engineering at Northwestern said:
“The novelty is that we identified a segment of a protein in skin that is important to wound healing, made the segment and incorporated it into an antioxidant molecule that self-aggregates at body temperature to create a scaffold that facilitates the body’s ability to regenerate tissue at the wound site.
“With this newer approach, we’re not releasing drugs or outside factors to accelerate healing. And it works very well,” said Ameer.
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The new regenerative bandage is said to contain an antioxidant which counters inflammation and the hydrogel is thermally responsive.
According to the study, the new bandage has a property that out-performs other available bandages because it is a liquid that when applied to the wound bed, rapidly solidifies into a gel when exposed to body temperature. This phase change allows it to conform to the exact shape of the wound.
“Wounds have irregular shapes and depths. Our liquid can fill any shape and then stay in place,” Ameer said.
“Other bandages are mostly based on collagen films or sponges that can move around and shift away from the wound site.”
Also the new bandage can be rinsed off with cool saline, so the regenerating tissue remains undisturbed unlike other bandages that when removed can rip off the healing tissue and re-injure the site.
Again, because the bandage leverages the body’s own healing power without releasing drugs or biologics, it faces fewer regulatory hurdles, which means patients could see it on the market much sooner, said researchers.