Scientists have developed a new electric bandage (“e-bandage”) that uses an electric field to speed up the rate of skin wound healing. The technology, which was recently detailed in the journal ACS Nano, was successfully used to speed up wound healing on rats, hinting at a potential treatment for diabetic ulcers and other wounds that take too long to heal.
Though skin is typically very capable of healing itself, some conditions and types of wounds can persist for long periods of time, increasing the risk of infection and other issues. Speeding up wound healing could be key to avoiding a number of complications, but methods to achieve this are slim.
Newly developed e-bandages may be the solution, featuring an electric field that is applied directly to the wound. The bandages are self-powered, described as a wearable nanogenerator featuring a copper coil, overlapping PTFE sheets, and PET. The nanogenerator works to convert skin movements into electrical pulses.
The electric field results from passing the electrical pulses between two electrodes located on either side of the skin wound. When used on rats, the researchers found that e-bandages resulted in wounds closing after three days compared to 12 days on rats using a regular bandage.
How does it work? The researchers point toward a variety of benefits induced by the electric field, including fibroblast migration, proliferation, and differentiation enhancement. It’s unclear at this time whether the researchers plan to initiate human trials with their e-bandages.