A pH-regulated drug delivery dermal patch for targeting infected regions in chronic wounds
This work presents a low-cost, passive, flexible, polymeric pump for topical drug delivery which uses wound pH as a trigger for localized drug release. Its operation relies on a pH-responsive hydrogel actuator which swells when exposed to the alkaline pH of an infected wound. The pump enables slow release (<0.1 μL min−1) of aqueous anti-bacterial solution for up to 4 hours and sustains against up to 8 kPa of backpressure. Featuring a scalable layer-by-layer fabrication technique to expand the pump into a 2 × 2 array, the device can dispense 50 μl onto a 160 mm2 dermal coverage within 4 hours. Robustness tests show that when integrated within a medical adhesive, the device can be worn around the forearm and can withstand various daily activities (non-intensive) for up to 12 hours. In vitro experiments demonstrate a 58 times decrease of live P. aeruginosa after 24 hours of the pump assisted antibiotics treatment.