High-tech pen paints healing gel right into wounds

Most wound dressings simply cover the injury and perhaps also kill harmful bacteria. The PAINT system goes much further, as it incorporates a pen that could one day allow doctors to paint a gelatinous healing ink right into wounds.

Its name an acronym for “portable bioactive ink for tissue healing,” the PAINT technology is being developed by scientists from China’s Nanjing University.

The system is centered around a 3D-printing pen which contains a sodium alginate gel and particles known as extracellular vesicles (EVs). The latter are naturally produced by white blood cells, and play a large role in the reduction of inflammation and formation of new blood vessels at injury sites.

The gel and the EVs mix with one another at the tip of the pen, forming a sturdy viscous ink which is extruded into cuts of any shape or size. In tests performed on human epithelial cells, application of that ink shifted those cells into the proliferated phase of the healing process, wherein new blood vessels formed and inflammatory substances were reduced.

Additionally, the PAINT system was found to boost collagen fiber production when tested on injured mice. Large wounds on a treated group of the animals were almost completely healed after 12 days, whereas wounds on an untreated control group were “not nearly as far along in the healing process” at that time.

A paper on the research – which is being led by Dan Li, Xianguang Ding and Lianhui Wang – was recently published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.

Source: American Chemical Society

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