PDA

View Full Version : The 'Smart Bandage' for Wound Care?



lynnifer
03-09-2006, 09:28 AM
http://www.wired.com/news/medtech/0,1286,57234,00.html

What to Do About Nasty Boo-Boos

By Louise Knapp Louise Knapp
02:00 AM Jan, 28, 2003 EST

A new smart bandage, designed to selectively pinpoint and absorb destructive enzymes oozing from non-healing wounds, may soon become a staple in hospital supply cabinets.

By eliminating these enzymes, the new cotton dressing accelerates the healing process for bedsores, diabetic foot sores and other wounds that resist conventional treatments.

The potential market for the dressing is promising, its makers say. More than a million Americans suffer from non-healing wounds annually, at a cost of $750 million.

The smart bandage's ability to meet this market need rests on its success in targeting an enzyme called elastase.

"Elastase is designed to kill bacteria in an infected wound and help clean out tissue that is devitalized," said one of the collaborators in the project, Dr. Dorne Yager of the Department of Surgery at the Virginia Commonwealth University.

The trouble is that non-healing wounds have an excess of elastase -- more than 20 times the normal level -- and in these quantities it can turn nasty.

"If these enzymes are over-exuberant, then they do damage to healthy tissue, as they can't tell the difference between healthy and unhealthy tissue," Yager said. "This slows down the healing process."

The job of the new bandage is to remove this excess elastase, but still retain qualities of the cotton such as absorbency and air permeability. The smart-bandage team accomplished this by altering the chemical structure of the cotton.

"We modified the cotton's cellulose in such a way that it binds the enzyme," said Dr. Vincent Edwards, a chemist in the cotton textile chemistry research unit of the Agricultural Research Service. Edwards is the lead researcher on the project.

Yager said the idea was to make simple changes in the cell structure of the cotton so that it absorbs in a specific way.

"The cotton's cellulose is given a negative charge," he said. "As the elastase has a positive charge, the cotton acts as a magnet and absorbs the elastase."

Another advantage of the smart bandages is that they can be manufactured in a regular cotton mill so the ultimate cost will be kept within reasonable limits.

"One of the real virtues of the product is that it is going to be very cheap," said Yager, who explained the new dressings will add a couple of cents a pound to the cost of bandages now on the market.

Dr. Elizabeth Lee, of the Methodist Hospital Wound Care Center in Arcadia, California, said the inexpensiveness of the bandage was an important feature.

"Most of our patients are elderly, and cost is a big issue to them," she said.

Dr. Timothy Shea of the John Muir Wound Care Center in Concord, California, said the bandages could play an important role in the treatment non-healing wounds, but that they are not a magic cure-all.

"By itself it would not be enough," he said. "It would have to be used in combination with other wound-care treatments," such as wound cleansing and infection control.

The team developing the smart bandage has yet to test its product on a human patient. However, Edwards said that test tube experiments have had positive results.

Clinical trials will begin this year, he said. If those trials are successful, the process of manufacturing the bandages could begin in a year.

carbar
03-09-2006, 09:56 AM
Sounds so simple - if it works as they say you wonder why it took so long to find this cost effective solution. Get it into clinical trial quick!