I blogged last week about programmable bandages, and now yet another wound healing material is being developed.
Researchers at Purdue University are developing a scaffold-like material that could be used to facilitate healing of wounds. Once injected into the body, the material hardens and binds to the wound, facilitating recovery time. It can also fill space as needed for applications requiring tissue rebuilding. “Because the material starts out as a thickened liquid, it rapidly can be injected into almost any part of the human anatomy and quickly fills in the gaps between severely damaged and or missing tissues,” Panitch explained in a release.
Purdue associate professor Alyssa Panitch, who heads the research team developing the material, discovered the material during the course of years of clinical testing. Potential applications include treatment of burn victims, damaged bones, spinal cord fusions, and arterial reattachment.
The material also could be used in conjunction with medicine such as antibiotics or pain medication. In the latter case, it could be applied directly to nerve endings.
Once again, I am truly impressed and amazed by the technology we have developed today. This brings to mind the 1966 movie Fantastic Voyage in which a diplomat is nearly assassinated, causing a blood clot to form in his brain. In order to save him, a submarine is shrunken to microscopic size and injected into his blood stream with a small crew. The crew has one hour to get in his brain, remove the clot and get out. Luckily for us, it has proven easier to develop an injectable material that can facilitate the healing of wounds than to come up with a way to shrink down an entire submarine and its crew in order to inject them into someone’s body and have them handle it.