The broader impact of this I-Corps project is the development of an advanced wound care technology that may provide personalized wound care therapy, guided by molecular diagnostics, to improve patient outcomes at reduced cost. Wound care management is a major healthcare challenge with over 6 million sufferers in the US alone, leading to huge economic and health costs. Medicare wound cost projections ranged from $28.1 to $96.8 billion, with surgical and diabetic wounds being the most expensive. The increasing wound prevalence has resulted in economic burden, reduced mobility, and significantly reduced quality of life for the patient. By offering real-time monitoring and therapy, the proposed platform may reduce the occurrence of complications, thus decreasing the risk of chronic wound development. In addition, timely therapeutic intervention using the proposed platform may allow for efficient wound management, decreasing the risk of traumatic amputations and mortality. Commercialization of a personalized wound therapy platform also may improve chronic care, which traditionally has low adherence. Further, the collected medical data may enable predictive wound analytics to further improve patient outcomes. These predictions may enable wound care providers to offer more accurate assessments and better treatment regimens, resulting in improved clinical efficacy and reduced societal burdens.
This I-Corps project is based on the development of a conformable platform that provides feedback-mediated wound therapy for personalized wound care. One of the biggest challenges in the development and validation of a new medical technology is poor patient adherence, which results in compromised efficacy validation in clinical trials. Technological advancements in the field of material science have enabled the development of wearable platforms for wound care. However, these platforms are not truly conformable, thus limiting their practical deployment. The proposed technology uses a novel fabrication methodology to realize a conformable platform for imperceptible devices. The methodology results in a highly flexible platform that enables controlled deformation to accommodate rigid circuit components, while maintaining flexibility for user comfort. The proposed platform combines spatial wound monitoring and therapy with a feedback mechanism to improve therapeutic efficiencies. The platform measures spatial changes in multiple wound biomarkers (uric acid, lactate, pH, and temperature) to obtain complete information on wound health. The information is subsequently used to treat the wound spatially with photobiomodulation. The conformability of the platform allows for direct placement over the wounds for extended periods of time, providing real-time monitoring and therapy without causing patient discomfort.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.