Development of Smart Electronic Medical Dressing for Real-Time Would Analysis and Therapy
The technology is expected to provide a digital medical platform through convergent studies in engineering, biochemistry, and medicine.
Research results from Professor Hwang Suk-Won’s group were published in Nano Today.
▲ (From left) Yang Seung-Min (integrated master-doctoral degree program, first author), Ko Gwan-Jin (integrated master-doctoral degree program, first author), and Professor Hwang Suk-Won (corresponding author).
Through a joint study conducted with Professor Oh Seung Ja at Kyung Hee University and Professor Lee Kangwon at Seoul National University, Professor Hwang Suk-Won’s group at the Center for KU-KIST Converging Science and Technology developed a smart electronic medical system that is applied to wounds to obtain inflammation and infection information and to treat the wounds based on the obtained information. The system developed in the study is expected to play an important role as a telemedicine or digital medicine platform.
The results were published online on November 12 in Nano Today (IF=18.962), an internationally renowned journal, and will be published in printed form in December.
* Title of article : Soft, wireless electronic dressing system for wound analysis and biophysical therapy * Journal : Nano Today (Nano Today 2022, 47, 101685)
A dressing agent or a band aid applied to a skin wound generally protects the wounded region and prevents contamination. However, a dressing band aid is being developed that has additional functions to that of conventional wound protection: it is now becoming a diagnostic device for understanding therapeutic conditions or infections. A microcurrent may be applied to facilitate the recovery and healing of wounds. Therefore, an advanced dressing band aid is becoming a patch-type remote medical device that allows both diagnosis and treatment.
The research group successfully developed an electronic dressing system that is capable of collecting information about the variation of cathepsin, humidity, pH, and temperature in relation to the inflammation or infection at a wound. In particular, the research group developed an inflammation-responsive hydrogel to measure cathepsin, which is a biomarker enzyme secreted by the inflammation or infection at a wound and developed an inflammation sensor by combining the hydrogel with a film-type electrode. The test of inflammatory markers in conventional medical technology is performed by blood sampling from a wound and thus requires much time and prevents prompt medical measures. In contrast, the wound dressing sensor developed in the present study enables a patient to immediately check the inflammatory markers and the conditions of the wound by using a smartphone app. Moreover, the electronic dressing can apply a microcurrent pulse based on the measured wound conditions to reduce inflammation and significantly shorten the recovery period.
The research group applied the newly developed electronic dressing to mice and successfully monitored the real-time variations of cathepsin, humidity, pH, and temperature for three weeks in a wireless manner. The real-time data gained from the sensors confirmed that cathepsin was secreted in a large amount in the wounds with inflammation. The research group also performed electrostimulation therapy on the wounds through the electronic dressing, also demonstrating that the time required for wound recovery was reduced.
Professor Hwang said, “In the present study, engineering, biochemistry, and medicine converged to develop a flexible electronic device. We were able to perform real-time monitoring of the inflammation and infection in vivo, which had not been accomplished by conventional technologies. The combination of our system with electrostimulation therapy is expected to effectively facilitate the treatment of various acute and chronic dermal diseases, including the treatment of decubitus of bed-bounds, in critically ill patients.”
The present study was supported by the Strategic Research Program of the Ministry of Science and ICT, the Korea Medical Device Development Fund, and the ICT Human Resources Program of the Institute for Information & Communication Technology Planning & Evaluation.
[ Description of representative figures in the article ]
▲FIG 1. (a) A planar figure of the developed smart dressing. The dressing system, fabricated on a soft polymer substrate, is applied to a wound to comprehensively obtain information about the biomarkers secreted from the wound as well as various other physiological signals (humidity, pH, temperature) and to carry out electrostimulation therapy to facilitate healing. (b) A photo of the smart dressing system applied to a wound model simulating the properties and shapes of skin; and an enlarged photo of the sensor. (c) A schematic diagram showing the components of the smart dressing system and the flow of system actions.
▲ FIG 2. (a) A picture illustrating the application of the smart dressing system to a wound of a mouse. (b) A photo of a mouse model to which the system has been applied. (c) Measurement of cathepsin, which is an inflammation biomarker secreted from a wound. The observations showed that more cathepsin was secreted from an infected wound. (d)-(f) Measurements of humidity, pH, and temperature, which are related to wound healing. (g)-(h) Effects of electrostimulation performed using the smart dressing. The healing speed was significantly different from Day 10.