Chronic wounds constitute a significant health and financial burden. Current wound assessment methods can be time-consuming and extremely laborious, requiring frequent removal and reapplication to evaluate the state of the wound. However, the standard of care for chronic wounds is rapidly improving with new and innovative therapies in the pipeline.
Researchers at Binghamton University at the State University of New York in the US, have developed a skin-inspired electromechanical biosensor that could facilitate real-time wound monitoring.
Biosensors are analytical devices that convert a biological component into an electrochemical signal. The sensor can be designed to observe any biomarker of interest. In wound care, biomarkers that help determine wound status and healing progression include glucose, lactate and oxygen.
Researchers at Binghamton University have used this technology to develop an open-mesh sensor, which allows the observation of oxygen and lactate at the wound site. The sensor is coupled with gold sensor cables that mimic the mechanical properties of the skin. The researchers claim that the skin-interfaced biosensor will allow for a more accurate, real-time biomarker analysis.
The development of biosensors for wound monitoring is still in its infancy. Some efforts have been made in the past to assess other parameters in wounds by means of biosensor technology, including temperature, moisture, and pH. However, this is the first time that a biosensor with skin-like properties has been developed.
Should the device be marketed, it would help reduce the numerous doctor visits and the lengthy hospitalisation periods associated with the diagnosis and treatment of chronic wounds. The researchers hope to eventually develop a new version of the biosensor that can amalgamate with the wearer’s body, maximising the analysis of several biomarkers. The studies of in vivo sensor performance are also currently underway.