Biodegradable Bandage Image
When dry, the novel biomolecular film can be picked up with tweezers can easily be placed onto a wound. (Credit: Astrid Eckert/TUM)

Researchers have developed a film that not only protects wounds similar to the way a bandage does, but also helps wounds to heal faster, repels bacteria, dampens inflammation, releases active pharmaceutical ingredients in a targeted manner and ultimately dissolves by itself. This is all made possible by its dedicated design and the use of mucins, molecules that occur naturally in mucous membranes.

The film consists of two layers, making it possible to design each side such that it can perform special tasks. The top side consists of a biodegradable polymer which renders the thin film stable, and it also contains mucins.

The bottom side of the film contains hyaluronic acid, a material well-known for its ability to bind water and to promote the healing of wounds. Other molecules are chemically bound to those hyaluronic acid macromolecules and make sure that the film becomes sticky upon contact with moisture, allowing the film to adhere to a tissue spontaneously.

When desired, active pharmaceutical ingredients such as antibiotics can also be integrated into the bottom layer. The two-layer structure makes it possible to release the active ingredients in only one specific direction: toward the wound.

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