Researchers at the University of Rhode Island reported that they developed a method that bandages can use to detect infection.
By embedding nanosensors into the fibers of a bandage, University of Rhode Island Associate Professor Daniel Roxbury and former URI PhD student Mohammad Moein Safaee created a continuous, non-invasive method of detecting and monitoring infection in a wound. Your research appears in Advanced Functional Materials.
“Single-walled carbon nanotubes within the dressing can identify infection in the wound by detecting levels of hydrogen peroxide,” Roxbury said in a press release.
So far, the challenge in using nanotubes for this purpose has been to immobilize them in a biocompatible manner so that they remain sensitive to their environment, he explained.
“The microfibers that encapsulate the carbon nanotubes do both of these things,” said Roxbury. “The nanotubes are not leached from the material, but remain sensitive to hydrogen peroxide in the wounds.”
The intelligent bandage is monitored by a miniaturized portable device that wirelessly (optically) detects the signal from the carbon nanotubes in the bandage. The signal can then be transmitted to a smartphone-type device, which will automatically notify the patient or a healthcare provider.
“This device is used for diagnostic purposes only,” said Roxbury. “The hope, however, is that the device will diagnose infection early, use fewer antibiotics and prevent drastic measures such as limb amputation. We believe this will be especially useful for people with diabetes, for whom chronic wound management is routine. “
Safaee worked at Roxbury’s NanoBio Engineering Laboratory at the Fascitelli Center for Advanced Engineering and used several advanced technologies to make the association a reality.
“We have developed and optimized a microfabrication process in order to place nanosensors precisely in the individual fibers of a textile,” he said. “We used state-of-the-art microscopes to examine the structure of the materials we made. I also used a self-made near-infrared spectrometer to optimize the optical properties of the textiles. “
The next phase of the project will verify that the bandages are working properly in a petri dish with live cultured cells located in wounds.
“These cells that we’re going to use are known as fibroblasts and macrophages (white blood cells), which produce hydrogen peroxide in the presence of pathogenic bacteria,” said Roxbury. “If all goes well, we will move to in vivo testing on mice. At that point, we would find someone specializing in these animal wound models. “
Testing has focused on small dressing samples, but the technology can easily be applied to much larger dressings, according to Roxbury.
“There really isn’t any limitation on size,” he said. “In fact, this technology is most useful with large bandages. Larger bandages can be more bothersome when removed and reapplied. However, our device does not need to be removed to enable detection. “