A wound dressing similar to cling film has been developed that wraps itself around awkward-shaped parts of the body to block out infections.
Japanese scientists believe the ultra-thin biodegradable “nanosheet” could be especially useful in the treatment of burns, where preventing infection is vital.
“The nanosheets can adhere not only to flat surfaces but also to uneven and irregular surfaces”
While existing wound dressings work well on relatively flat and broad skin surfaces, they can come unstuck when applied to curved, wrinkled and ridged areas.
“The nanosheets can adhere not only to flat surfaces but also to uneven and irregular surfaces without adding any adhesives,” said lead researcher Dr Yosuke Okamura, from Tokai University.
The material is made from a form of polyester called poly (L-lactic) acid, or PLLA.
Dr Okamura’s team tested its ability to coat small and irregular shapes on a mouse’s claws. The nanosheet effectively covered even the smallest bumps and wrinkles on the tiny digits.
Further tests showed that the cling film dressing kept out the common bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa for up to six continuous days.
The bug is often a culprit in skin infections and a particular threat to hospital patients with weakened immune systems.
Large scale animal and safety tests are now planned with a view to clinical trials.
The research was presented at the American Chemical Society’s annual meeting in San Francisco.