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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

Tech Note/Jello Bandaid

Air Date: Week of June 21, 2002

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Living on Earth’s Cynthia Graber reports on research into a new jello bandage that could help wounds heal more quickly.


Just ahead, why the oil and gas-rich state of Texas has become the nation’s number one supplier of wind power. First, this Environmental Technology Note from Cynthia Graber.


GRABER: Cells in our body are surrounded by an entire support system of proteins, nutrients and other cells. But when skin or tissue is cut, that support system suddenly vanishes. So John Kao, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin, is trying to solve this problem by creating a Jell-O-like bandage filled with cells, proteins and medicine.

The gooey, pale, orange mixture is made up of a natural collagen gelatin and synthetic chemicals. At room temperature, it’s a liquid that can be poured over both external and internal wounds. It congeals in less then three minutes when placed under UV light.

Floating in the gel, a specially selected mix of cells, proteins, nutrients and drugs surround the wound to promote healing. So far, Kao has done lab tests to figure out how to best release drugs from the gel. He’s also done animal testing to see how the formula works inside the body. So far, he says, the results are promising. But with regulatory tests and trials ahead, it may take at least another five years before the Jell-O bandage is ready to be poured on at a clinic near you. That’s this week’s Technology Note. I’m Cynthia Graber.


TOOMEY: And you’re listening to Living on Earth.




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