Aussie smart wound dressing prompts faster healing, less pain to patients

SYDNEY, Oct. 15 (Xinhua) -- A smart wound dressing developed by Australian researchers can detect the progress of infection without causing the painful experience to patients in burns, skin grafts and chronic wounds.

Publicly released on Wednesday, the next generation wound dressing was made of silk embedded with nanodiamonds, making it sensitive to wound temperature rising, an early sign of infection.

Researchers said the new technology addressed the problem doctors are currently facing in wound care and healing.

"Traditional wound management presents a significant challenge for clinicians, who have to regularly check for infection by looking for signs of redness, heat and swelling," senior researcher Brant Gibson from Australia's Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) said.

"However, once these visual signs appear, inflammation and infection are far advanced, making therapies or interventions substantially more challenging."

"This new technology would aid clinicians to detect infections earlier and non-invasively without the painful procedure of dressing removal."

By adding diamonds, a material well known for its property of detecting biological temperature at a highly precise level, the new technology makes it possible for doctors to check the wound status without touching it.

"By embedding nanodiamonds into silk fibres using an electrospinning process, we've been able to develop a naturally derived wound dressing that can sense infections," Asma Khalid from RMIT who led the research explained.

"The heat sensing capability opens the possibility of contactless wound monitoring by clinicians who would be able to obtain information on the wound's status from the nanodiamond temperature readout."

To researchers' surprise, the new material also showed an extremely high antibacterial resistance to gram negative bacteria, a major player in skin wound infections, while still can maintain the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the wound.

"Realising this exciting new technology would provide a beneficial and cost-effective solution to the increasing challenge of wound management and healing," Khalid said.

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