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‘Smart’ wound dressing technology

‘Smart’ wound dressing technology

ARC-supported scientists have developed a next generation wound dressing that can detect infection and improve healing in burns, skin grafts and chronic wounds.

In research led by RMIT University’s Research Fellow Dr Asma Khalid, smart wound dressings made of silk and nanodiamonds could detect early signs of infection, by sensing wound temperature, as well as acting to reduce infection from certain bacteria.

The team turned to diamonds – which are known to detect biologically-relevant temperatures to a highly precise level – to incorporate the heat sensing capability in the dressings.

‘The heat sensing capability opens the possibility of contactless wound monitoring. Clinicians would be able to obtain information on the wound’s status from the nanodiamond temperature readout,’ says Dr Khalid.

Senior researcher, previous ARC Future Fellow Professor Brant Gibson, says it offered a solution to the global challenge of 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,’ he said.

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

The researchers also tested the technology for resistance to bacteria, the major cause of skin wound infections. The study found that the nanodiamond silk membranes showed an extremely high antibacterial resistance.

The research consortium included scientists from RMIT University, The University of Adelaide and The University of Melbourne, Flinders University, SAHMRI and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP).

This project has also been awarded an NHMRC Ideas Grant to prototype and validate the smart dressing in preparation for human trials.


‘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,’ says Dr Asma Khalid.


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