Spiders could hold key to 'smart bandage' medical treatments: UVic research
Published Wednesday, May 29, 2019 1:33PM PDT Last Updated Wednesday, May 29, 2019 2:52PM PDT
The researchers have been studying spider webs, and the way spiders create them, to engineer gauze-like 'smart' fabric. (File photo)
Spiders may give many people the creeps, but researchers at the University of Victoria say they could lead to some life-changing medical breakthroughs.
Biomedical engineer Mohsen Akbari and his team are working on creating “smart microfibre” mesh to use as a bandage that never needs to be removed from a patient.
The researchers have been studying spider webs, and the way spiders create them, to engineer the gauze-like fabric.
Akbari says the microfibres involve much more than meets the eye.
The gauze could provide options for treating diseases and tracking infections by sending smartphone-trackable signals from the body to be monitored by patients and medical professionals.
The mesh may also provide a solution for treating aggressive brain cancers like glioblastoma.
The toxic drug that treats this form of cancer is extremely harmful to other organs, which means only five per cent of patients see positive results, according to researchers.
But Akbari believes that surgically implanting the mesh around an individual brain tumour with a slow-release dose of the drug could eliminate the harm to other organs.
“If we could even see 10 per cent of people helped by this, it would be a huge improvement,” said Akbari.
Akbari said the mesh may also one day be helpful in 3-D printing organs and blood vessels.