Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has given engineers £360,000 to develop a microsensor that detects wound healing by monitoring mechanical changes in the body’s tissue.
The sensor, developed as part of a two-year project at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, will be designed to be embedded in bandage to measure changes and give updates on how the tissue is changing or if the wound needs different treatment.
Dr Michael Crichton, engineer at the university’s Soft Tissue and Biomedical Devices Lab said: “Lots of research has looked at the biological properties of wounds, but we know very little about the mechanics of how wounds heal, especially at the microscale, which is where changes are happening at sub-hair width scales.
“At the moment we judge the progress of wounds on patients’ reports of pain and how the wound looks to the naked eye of health professionals,” said Dr Crichton, who is working with wound healing specialist Dr Jenna Cash.
The researchers are using imaging devices to investigate how each layer of skin contributes to a wound’s mechanical properties. They say their findings could be applicable to organs, such as monitoring liver or kidney damage or cancers.
Wound management costs the NHS between £4.5-5.1 billion annually, according to a BMJ Open paper.