Article by Jeff Lawrence, CTV Vancouver Island. Reused with permission.

 

The smartphone will see you now.

That’s how easy health care could be in the future thanks to a locally invented “smart bandage” that can detect and treat infections with the touch of an app.

“GelDerm” is the brainchild of bioengineer Mohsen Akbari and fellow researchers from the University of Victoria, the Harvard Medical School and the University of British Columbia.

The patent-pending bandage uses embedded sensors linked to a smartphone app to monitor pH levels of wounds, letting it detect bacterial infections at their earliest stages.

That information can also be relayed to a patient’s doctor for follow-up.

“There is a pressing need to develop advanced dressings that are capable of monitoring wound conditions and providing proper treatment when necessary,” Akbari said in a news release. “The proposed technology holds great promise in managing chronic and acute injuries caused by trauma, surgery or diabetes.”

But the app doesn’t stop at diagnosis. If antibiotics are required to treat an infection, GelDerm can administer them directly to the bandaged area without having to take it off, potentially revolutionizing how wounds are cared for.

“This all-in-one bandage that detects infection and administers treatment without having to be removed will reduce costs and save lives,” says Akbari, adding that it will help reduce reliance on antibiotics and in effect, will help combat the growth of drug-resistant superbugs.

While other similar products exist, Akbari says GelDerm is the first one that can function without a power source and its readings aren’t influenced by other substances that leak from a wound.

Researchers hope to have the technology available to consumers within five years once its identifies industry partners.

They’re currently working with UVic Industry Partnerships to commercialize the product.

 

SOURCE: CTV News Vancouver Island