A new electronic device could heal wounds through a method that cannot be replicated with other dressings.
In the U.S. alone, there are nearly 7 million who must live with nonhealing chronic wounds, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There are several methods to deal with these problematic wounds, including specialized dressings and innovations in hyperbaric oxygen therapy. An exciting new treatment on the horizon is electrical stimulation.
Doctors use varying forms of electrical charge to help stimulate wound healing. One such project, created by a team from Washington State University, makes use of an electronic scaffold device to help wounds heal more effectively.
Now, a team from the Ohio State University Center for Clinical and Translational Science has announced an exciting breakthrough in the use of electrical currents to maximize wound care potential.
A Jolt of Inspiration
In a press release, the OSU team revealed that it had developed a self-adhesive wound dressing that uses an electrical current to bolster healing. According to the Ohio team, the dressings build upon existing technology called wireless electroceutical dressing. Per a 2015 study in the journal Advances in Wound Care, the WED enhances the body’s natural electrical current to heal wounds faster and with less chance for infection. And as a recent study from the Department of Dermatology at the University of California confirmed, reduced electrical currents may be the primary explanation for non-healing wounds. That’s especially true for the millions of diabetic patients worldwide.
As lead researcher Vish Subramaniam explained, the OSU dressing is different from most WEDs in that it is much more flexible and portable. Plus, it is just as effective at removing the biofilm, a bacterial barrier that prevents some wounds from being treated with antibiotics. The wound dressing, comprised of a dual blend of silver and silk, generates a constant electrical current that makes it effective.
“The destruction of the biofilm would enable antibiotics to start killing off bacteria, reduce chronic inflammation and allow the body’s natural immune response to work more effectively,” Subramaniam said. “Bacteria are known to quickly acquire resistance against antibiotics, but to our knowledge, bacteria do not develop resistance against electroceuticals.”
The Ohio team has already tested the wound dressing on a series of laboratory animals, with some promising results. In experimental models with skin meant to mimic a person with high blood pressure and elevated sugars, the dressing healed wounds that would have otherwise remain exposed.
The Ohio team is now set to move into human trials, with the eventual goal of getting approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The team has also been approached by the military to use the dressing in combat situations.
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