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Silver Nano-Particles Heal Wounds

Silver Nano-Particles Heal Wounds

Silver nano-particles applied using a rubber stamp show promise to help heal wounds…

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison have developed a new treatment to heal skin wounds that simply involves wearing patch lined with anti-bacterial silver. Silver has not only been known as precious metal for centuries, its anti-bacterial properties also made it the metal of choice for many generations of medical practitioners. In fact, the saying which uses the term ‘silver spoon’ is derived from Roman times when wealthy families would make their children suck on silver spoons to fight off the ever prevalent plague.

Although the anti-bacterial properties of silver have known for hundreds of years, the problem with using silver to protect an open wound is that the metal is toxic in high concentrations. And with no precision technique to administer such minute amounts of silver, it has remained near on impossible to apply safely and effectively…. until now.

silver nano particles heal wounds

Silver Nano Particle Patches Could Heal Wounds

Image Credit: Soopahgrover, 2011.

The new technique borrows a rather simple approach used to print ink on a number of surfaces; the rubber stamp. To apply the silver, the team mixed silver nano-particles with a polyelectrolyte multilayer coating. The material was then assembled on the rubber stamp and place over wounds from cadaver skin. The team then applied to the wound, small doses of common skin bacteria – staphylococcus epidermidis and pseudomonas aeruginosa – known to cause infections, to the site of the wound.

After 12 hours 99.999 percent of the bacteria had died; an effect that lasted for up to 48 hours afterward. To make sure the treatment works on humans the team successfully tested the patches on lab mice, and are currently experimenting with wounded pigs as their skin is similar to humans in many ways.

Eventually the team hopes to open clinical trials for testing on humans, and if all goes to plan, they envision the development of a treatment that involves simply covering a wound with a silver nano-particle lined patch.

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  1. Kit Eaton: Nanoparticle Rubber Stamps Could Help Heal Wounds. Gizmodo, 04/06/2011.

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