The patent-pending invention of a Purdue University engineer could improve the quality of life for millions of people with diabetic foot ulcers.
Rahim Rahimi, assistant professor in the School of Materials Engineering, has developed an array of flexible polymer composite micro-needles that can overcome the physicochemical bacterial biofilm present in chronic non-healing wounds and simultaneously deliver oxygen and agents bactericides. The results were published in ACS Bio Applied Materials.
âThe biofilm acts as a shield, preventing antibiotics from reaching infected cells and tissues,â Rahimi said. “When these micro-needles pass through the shield, they absorb the fluid underneath and dissolve, which delivers the antibiotic directly to the ulcerated cells and tissues.”
Rahimi said the traditional method of bypassing the biofilm is for doctors to peel it off, which is painful for patients and does not distinguish between unhealthy and healthy tissue.
âMicro-needles don’t cause pain because they’re not long enough to touch the nerve endings in the foot,â he said. “In this published study, the team evaluated the microneedles on ex vivo porcine wound models. In less than five minutes, the microneedles dissolved, the antibiotic was administered, and the patch was removed. . “
Failure to properly treat infected ulcers can lead to bacteremia and sepsis. As a result, chronic wounds are one of the main causes of limb amputations.
The next step in developing microneedles beyond the proof of concept stage is to find partners to perform human testing. Rahimi disclosed the innovation to the Purdue Research Foundation’s technology commercialization office. OTC has applied for a patent on intellectual property. The innovation is available under license.
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Material provided by Purdue University. Original written by Steve Martin. Note: Content can be changed for style and length.