Researchers develop ‘plug and play’ injectable bandage for slow release therapeutics

By Flora Southey contact

- Last updated on GMT

GettyImages/ralphgillen
GettyImages/ralphgillen
An injectable bandage that administers biologics to wound sites enables the controlled release of therapeutics to promote healing, says scientist.

The delivery technology – described by Texas A&M University’s Akhilesh Gaharwar as a ‘plug and play’ type bandage – uses seaweed extract kappa-carrageenan and nanosilicates to form injectable hydrogels.

As detailed in the Acta Biomaterialia​-published study, once injected the hydrogels draw blood components such as plasma protein and platelets to the surface, in order to stops injury bleeding.

“Once they attach to the hydrogel surface, platelets get activated and will initiate the clotting process with help from plasma protein,” ​assistant professor of the university’s department of biomedical engineering Akhilesh Gaharwar told us.

“Kappa-carrageenan on its own takes around 300 seconds to form a significant clot. The integration of nanosilicates reduces the clotting time by approximately two-fold,” ​he explained.

By using biologics – such as proteins and growth factors – we can significantly boost the body’s own ability to heal wounds faster, Gaharwar told us.

The versatile bandage can “incorporate any type of small molecule drug or large molecule protein for sustained release,” ​he added.  

Delivery hurdles

The injectable bandage overcomes common drug delivery issues, such as burst release, short therapeutic windows, and the need for multiple injections/doses, we were told.

“Moreover, no chemical modification of either drug or nanoparticle is needed because our system uses electrostatic forces between the drug and nanoparticles for sequestering and releasing processes.”

With regard to storage requirements, the gel can be kept at room temperature for a prolonged duration.

“There is no need for cold-chain storage, so it can be used in remote locations and extreme conditions such as battle field,” ​said Gaharwar.

‘Cheap and easily obtained’

Gaharwar told us the raw materials used for the fabrication of hydrogels are cheap and easily obtained.

“To make 1ml of injectable bandage it might cost $1. If we prepare in bulk then total cost will be quite low (10 cents/mL).”

The University is in the processing of scaling the patented technology for commercial use.

Related topics: Drug Delivery, Delivery technologies

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