A team of researchers led by Dr. Boxin Zhao, a professor in chemical engineering at the University of Waterloo, has made significant strides in developing intelligent hydrogel materials for use as a reusable wound dressing.
Using advanced polymers, this new programmable 3D printed wound dressing could enhance the healing process for burn patients and have potential applications for drug delivery in cancer treatment as well as in the cosmetic industry.
One of the challenges in treating burn victims is the frequency of dressing changes which can be extremely painful.
"To treat burn victims, we can customize the shape using a 3D printer, secondly, the material has fine-tuned surface adhesion, which is a key feature", said Zhao. "The material can easily adhere to the skin and be taken off. It's a very delicate balance within the material to make the adhesion work."
The material also has applications for cancer treatment. In traditional chemotherapy treatment, a patient may need to be in a clinic for hours which can be tiring and uncomfortable. This dressing can provide a constant drug release outside the clinic setting, alleviating some of the challenges associated with traditional methods.
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