Scientists Create Innovative Device That Can Monitor And Treat Psoriasis

In Education

Researchers from the University of Chicago, Rutgers University, and Columbia University are pioneering an in innovative concept of “living bioelectronics, which is a device resembling a small sticker, designed to monitor and treat inflammatory skin conditions such as psoriasis.”

ABLE incorporates living bacteria in its structure

Named ABLE (Active Biointegrated Living Electronics), this device is distinct due to its incorporation of living bacteria within its structure. The chosen bacteria, Staphylococcus epidermidis, naturally resides on healthy human skin without causing harm. The device, featured in the journal Science, features a flexible electronic mesh within a specialized hydrogel. This hydrogel serves as a comfortable interface between the device and the skin, simultaneously providing an optimal environment for the S. epidermidis bacteria.

Functionally, ABLE can wirelessly record vital diagnostic information from the skin, such as temperature, electrical impedance, and moisture levels, all of which are crucial in psoriasis management. These metrics allow ABLE to monitor disease severity and progression over time.

However, ABLE’s capabilities extend beyond passive monitoring. It actively treats psoriasis by utilizing the S. epidermidis bacteria. When released from the hydrogel onto psoriasis-affected areas, these bacteria modulate the local immune response and promote healing.

New device reduces inflammation and restores bacterial balance

Experiments on mice with psoriasis-like lesions demonstrated the device’s therapeutic potential. Within days of using ABLE, significant improvements were observed, including reduced inflammation, slowed skin cell growth, and restored bacterial balance on the skin.

ABLE also includes a safety mechanism as its electronic components can deliver a small electrical current to the hydrogel, effectively killing the bacteria when necessary. This ensures that the bacteria are inactivated before the device is removed from the skin. Although still in the preclinical phase, ABLE showcases a promising future for smart, responsive bioelectronic therapies. This innovative approach could revolutionize the treatment of psoriasis, offering a more precise and side-effect-free alternative to current immunosuppressive drugs.

Its modular nature suggests its potential adaptability for treating other skin diseases or even inflammatory conditions in different body tissues. With further development and clinical trials, ABLE could become a highly effective tool for managing various difficult-to-treat diseases by leveraging beneficial bacteria.

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