A team of researchers at the Empa Research Center in Switzerland, led by Fei Pan and Qun Ren, has developed a dressing that responds to an acute infection, more specifically, to an increase in body temperature.
As we know, the use of antibiotics is fraught with side effects, and excessive use leads to “addictive” infections. Dressing materials are also far from perfect – they are not transparent, which makes it difficult to monitor the state of wounds and reduces the effect of their treatment.
The basis of the innovative dressing material is a thin membrane of nanofibers made from a mixture of PMMA polymers and biocompatible Eudragit polymer. The antiseptic octenidine dihydrochloride was placed behind the membrane.
As long as the body temperature in the wound area is between 32-34 °C, the mixture is in a solid “non-working” state. However, when the temperature rises to 37 °C, the polymers soften and begin to release the antiseptic into the infected tissue. After the temperature is normalized, the drug remaining in the dressing hardens again. It is designed for a total of five applications.
Researchers are currently working on lowering the temperature “threshold” of the material and exploring the use of other medications, including real antibiotics.