Researchers at ITMO University (St. Petersburg, Russia) and the University of Toronto (Canada) have created a hydrogel made from biological components that can fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria, speed up wound healing, and signal the need for timely patch replacement.

This gel can be applied to medical patches and dressings using 3D printing.

This is reported in the journal Chemistry of Materials.

The hydrogel is based on gelatin and nanomodified cellulose.

As the researchers note, the use of such components makes it possible to create a layer that absorbs iron ions and deprives bacteria of their nutrition, while protecting the wound and creating a favorable environment for natural healing.

The soft and moist texture of the gel does not injure the skin, scientists say. 

“Our hydrogel is 3D printed onto the base of the patch to create a 3D material with a unique surface and pore structure.

The main difference from competitors' developments is the combination of wound healing and antibacterial properties, "Elena Krivoshapkina, associate professor of the ITMO University's chemistry and biological cluster, said in an interview with RT.

It will be possible to learn about the termination of the useful action of plasters and dressings based on such material without removing them, experts say.

The smart gel is able to remind you to replace the patch.

“By adding special

of carbon nanodots, we can visualize the processes of wound healing, ”notes Krivoshapkina.

According to her, for such a test, the effect of ultraviolet radiation on the patch is sufficient.

The lack of glow of carbon nanodots indicates the need to replace the patch or dressing.

According to the developers, they have already obtained a prototype that has successfully passed tests on biological models - cells and bacteria.

In the future, scientists are planning preclinical research, including testing on animals.