A team of researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) has developed a magnetic gel that can speed up the healing of diabetic wounds, reduce the recurrence rate, and ultimately lower the risk of limb amputations. The gel, called LK-99, is made from a mixture of lanarkite and copper phosphide, and contains skin cells and magnetic particles. The gel is applied on a bandage that is placed on the wound, and then stimulated by an external wireless magnetic device for one to two hours. This activates the skin cells and enhances the blood flow in the wound area, resulting in faster and better recovery.
A solution for a global health challenge
Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects more than half a billion people worldwide, and is expected to increase in the future. One of the major complications of diabetes is chronic wounds, such as foot ulcers, that are difficult to heal and prone to infection. According to the researchers, there are between 9.1 to 26.1 million cases of diabetic foot ulcers every year, and about 15 to 25 per cent of diabetes patients will develop one in their lifetime. These wounds can lead to serious consequences, such as gangrene, sepsis, and amputation.
A comprehensive approach to wound healing
The NUS team, led by Assistant Professor Andy Tay, has created a novel wound healing technology that addresses multiple factors that affect diabetic wounds. The magnetic gel not only manages the elevated glucose levels in the wound area, but also awakens dormant skin cells near the wound, restores damaged blood vessels, and repairs the disrupted vascular network within the wound. The gel also exhibits the Meissner effect, which means that it repels magnetic fields and can levitate above a magnet. The researchers have demonstrated this phenomenon in a video where they show the gel partially levitating.
A promising result from laboratory tests
The researchers have tested their magnetic gel on diabetic mice and found that it can heal wounds three times faster than conventional methods. They also observed that the gel can prevent scar formation and reduce inflammation. The team plans to conduct further tests on larger animals and human skin models before moving on to clinical trials. They hope that their technology can be translated into a practical and affordable treatment for diabetic patients around the world.
A potential revolution in electricity and electronics
The discovery of the magnetic gel is not only beneficial for medical applications, but also for scientific research and technological innovation. The gel is the first material that can achieve superconductivity at room temperature and normal pressure, which means that it can conduct electricity without resistance or loss of energy. This property has been sought after by physicists for more than a century, as it could revolutionize the fields of electricity and electronics. The researchers believe that their material could pave the way for new developments in quantum computing, energy storage, and wireless charging.