The work involves making fibers from biodegradable polymers using a range of processes which also is the part of the “Self Care Materials” project and “The targeted use of the fiber determines the best manufacturing process among all,” explains researchers. Ultimately, all processes create novel fibers, the nano-architecture of which is composed of numerous layers and components. On this project, delicate, light membranes with a large surface are developed by electrospinning.
“With test substances the properties of these new materials are currently being investigated”. In the end product, for instance, painkillers or antibiotics are to be incorporated into the fibers. With the intention of guaranteeing that the dosage of the active substances is exactly as needed, the scientists have developed a tricky control mechanism: Some polymers are degradable by the body under specific conditions.
This feature can be used specifically. “The fibers should release their drugs into the environment at a calculated degradation rate in response to a stimulus from the body.” Such an irritation can be the changed pH value of a skin wound, which specifies that the tissue damage must be treated. As a self-care material, the fibers in the form of a garment or plaster thus support the diagnosis and treatment of illnesses.
“For an enormous number of applications, the use of self-care fibers is conceivable”. Along with chemical signals from the body, however, stimuli can also be used that are purposely set from the outside to regulate the discharge of medication by the fibers. Textiles or dressings that discharge a remedy under mild pressure or a light stimulus can add to the quality of life of patients and simultaneously relieve the load on healthcare staff.
Even the system can be used for preventive procedures. The notion behind it: Where active substances can be discharged, substances are also able to enter the fiber in the opposite direction. “Thus, the fibers measure the sugar level in the blood and can act as sensors and for instance,” Researchers Explained. With premature babies, the sugar balance is predominantly likely to be out of balance. Using such sensors, blood sugar can be tracked painlessly via the tender skin without the babies having to undergo a prickly blood sample.