One of the reasons a bandage or a plaster is placed over a wound is to help close it and prevent outside elements getting into an open wound, thus preventing infections and unnecessary complications. However, it seems a team of researchers from Harvard’s Wyss Institute, Harvard’s John A. Paulson School for Engineering and Applied Sciences, and McGill University have created a new type of bandage that can actually speed up the healing process.
The researchers were inspired by developing embryos in which they seem to have the natural ability to heal itself without any scar tissue forming. This occurs during the development of a fetus, where embryonic skin cells produce fibers made out of a protein called actin. These fibers grow around a wound which contract and draw the edges of a wound together.
By emulating that process, researchers managed to create a bandage using a thermoresponsive polymer to a previously developed wound adhesive. This not only gave the bandage the ability to repel water, but it would also begin shrinking at 90 degrees Fahrenheit, pulling the edges of the wound together.
This not only helps to speed ujp the healing process, but they found that the size of the wound can also be decreased by as much as 45%. So far, tests have only been conducted on animals like pigs and mice, but a simulation found that it would perform just as well on humans.