MADISON, Wis. (WFRV) – After several years of exploration, UW‒Madison researchers are one step closer to finalizing a rapid self-healing bandage.

According to the UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health, research that led to the creation of this bandage began back in 2018 at the helm of Xudong Wang, a professor of materials science and engineering at UW–Madison.

It was during this research that Wang and his colleagues found that the bandage they had created ‘significantly’ accelerated wound healing in rats.

“When we tested it on wounded human skin that we’d grafted onto a mouse, the wound healed completely in seven days compared to the typical 30 days using a standard dressing,” said Dr. Angela Gibson assistant professor of surgery at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health, and a burn and acute care surgeon at UW HealthGibson.

With these promising results in hand, researchers continued conducting more tests using the bandages and after about three years, were able to make the necessary improvements to the product moving them one step closer to accomplishing their goal of developing an effective and swift self-healing bandage.

“We made improvements in the bandage between our original study and this one by incorporating the nanogenerator into the bandage itself, and by weaving the material to better mimic the way skin stretches so it could capture more of the energy from subtle body movements,” Wang said. “We’re very excited about the results in human skin.”

According to UW-Madison researchers, the bandages are shown to heal a wound more than four times faster than a traditional dressing by using the body’s natural movement to generate an electric field.

Researchers explain that the bandage works by using a tiny generator, called a nanogenerator, to capture energy from natural movements like breathing and twitching. The nanogenerator converts that energy into mild electric pulses that are sent to an electrode in the bandage, which then creates an electric field around the wound, speeding up the healing process.

However, while the team is seeing positive results, their work is not done. Dr. Gibson says that next steps for the team include improving the nanogenerator and bandage design further to harness energy at various sites on human bodies with hopes of moving to clinical trials in the next few years.

In addition, UW-Madison officials are hopeful that these futuristic bandages won’t cost too much to manufacture as the bandages are easy to make and are made up of “relatively” inexpensive material.

“Given the device’s simplicity and its expected low cost, we’re really hopeful that this technology will lead to significant improvements in treatment for the millions of people who suffer from wounds every year,” Dr. Gibson said.

Watch Dr. Angela Gibson talk more about the bandages in the video below.