Wound management is a major global challenge and poses a significant financial burden on the healthcare system. While many wounds go through a normal healing process and heal without clinical intervention, some acute and chronic wounds become complicated with infection, which can pose a severe threat to the health and wellbeing of the individual. Wound infections can significantly delay the healing process of the injury, cause pain and discomfort, require prolonged hospital stays, and lead to more serious complications such as septicemia, necrosis, physical disability, altered lifestyle, or death. The ability to detect pathogenic infections and treat wound infections as early in the process as possible is therefore of utmost importance to patient care.
Limitations of Current Practices
Of the wide range of commercially and clinically used dressings that are marketed towards wound management, all inherently have one or more major drawbacks associated with the following areas:
- 1. Inability to detect bacterial infections before negative clinical symptoms arise.
- 2. Opaque dressing construction necessitates removal for visual inspection of the wound condition by medical personnel. Often done on a daily basis, this can result in a cumbersome and painful patient experience.
- 3. Uncontrolled release of antibacterial agents that can lead to antibiotic resistance and/or delayed healing.
GelDerm Smart Bandage
We are currently completing the development of the foremost transparent hydrogel-based dressing that detects bacterial infections in wounds using colorimetric sensors. The dressing holds two substantial benefits over conventional wound dressing options:
- A. Detection of wound infection at an early stage, prior to critical colonization and impediment of wound healing. Early detection reduces the likelihood of future complications during the healing process.
- B. Reduction in the frequency of dressing changes and clinic visits, promoting efficient and effective care through telemedicine.