New research from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, and the University of Freiburg, Germany, shows that wounds on cultured skin cells heal three times faster when stimulated with electric current. The project was recently granted more funding so the research can get one step closer to the market and the benefit of patients. Credit: Science Brush, Hassan A. Tahin
Topics: Applied Physics, Biotechnology, Medicine
Chronic wounds are a major health problem for diabetic patients and the elderly—in extreme cases, they can even lead to amputation. Using electric stimulation, researchers in a project at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, and the University of Freiburg, Germany, have developed a method that speeds up healing, making wounds heal three times faster.
There is an old Swedish saying that one should never neglect a small wound or a friend in need. For most people, a small wound does not lead to any serious complications, but many common diagnoses make wound healing far more difficult. People with diabetes, spinal injuries, or poor blood circulation have impaired wound-healing ability. This means a greater risk of infection and chronic wounds—which can lead to serious consequences like amputation in the long run.
Now a group of researchers at Chalmers and the University of Freiburg have developed a method using electric stimulation to speed up the healing process. The study, "Bioelectronic microfluidic wound healing: a platform for investigating direct current stimulation of injured cell collectives," was published in the Lab on a Chip journal.
"Chronic wounds are a huge societal problem that we don't hear much about. Our discovery of a method that may heal wounds up to three times faster can be a game changer for diabetic and elderly people, among others, who often suffer greatly from wounds that won't heal," says Maria Asplund, Associate Professor of Bioelectronics at the Chalmers University of Technology and head of research on the project.
How electricity can heal wounds three times faster, The Chalmers University of Technology