NASA scientists are applying their vast amount of scientific knowledge to wound care.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is not well known for being a huge force in the wound care industry. Instead, the space agency is best known for landing on the moon, launching satellites into the outer reaches of our solar system, and exploring nearby planets. However, as Cantech Letter reported, NASA has taken one giant leap in improving wound healing by developing a state of the art new bandage.
An Innovative New Wound Dressing
The bandage was developed as part of NASA’s recent Technology Transfer Program, in which engineers focus on terrestrial research projects like optics, ground communications, and futuristic materials. The bandage is made through a modified version of a process called electrospinning. According to a 2010 report in the journal Biological Advances, this involves the application of electricity onto certain materials to layer the individual threads.
NASA makes use of a patented electrospinning apparatus that helps engineers better control the flow of the materials being spun or manipulated. This process is important, as it lets the engineers work with a unique polymer type called polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF). As Plastics International explained, this resin is not only extra strong but it is made to withstand the application of electrical charges. NASA says that use of electricity will aid in the wound healing process.
In an accompanying statement, the NASA developers explained that the bandage’s electrical charge has two primary goals: to improve the wound healing process and prevent bacterial infections. Supporting NASA’s efforts is other data that demonstrates the effectiveness of electricity in wound care regimens.
A July 2016 study found that electricity improves the functionality of macrophages, the so-called powerhouses of the wound healing process. Meanwhile, a December 2015 study outlined how electrical stimulation improves wound care rates. Namely, it helps destroy biofilms that impede normal healing by the body’s cellular system. And NASA is not even the first to use electricity in dressings: A similar project was launched in early 2016 to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria like MRSA.
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