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Electrified ePatch bandage speeds healing and kills harmful bacteria

Date: 25.4.2022 

For some time now, it's been known that the application of electricity can help heal wounds. The experimental new ePatch bandage takes that approach, plus it boosts the healing process by killing bacteria.

Kredit: Terasaki Institute.Developed by at Los Angeles' Terasaki Institute for Biomedical Innovation, the ePatch incorporates electrodes made of silver nanowires mixed into a seaweed-derived hydrogel known as alginate. The latter is already used in surgical dressings, as it's biocompatible and it maintains optimal moisture levels.

By chemically modifying the alginate and adding calcium to it, the scientists were able to increase the function and stability of the silver nanowires. The resulting hydrogel was printed onto a flexible silicone sheet, the surface of which was partially covered with a stencil-like template.

When that template was subsequently removed, the alginate that was left behind formed the two electrodes – they were then hard-wired to an external power source. By varying the size and shape of the silicone sheets, it was possible to create ePatches capable of covering and conforming to the contours of a wide variety of wounds.

When the technology was tested on rats with external wounds, the delivered electrical current was found to quicken the speed of healing not only by causing skin and other granulation cells to migrate to the site, but also by inducing the formation of blood vessels and reducing inflammation. Whereas wounds on an untreated control group of rats took 20 days to heal, the ePatch-treated rats healed in just seven days.





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