Tufts researchers treat infections wirelessly

Researchers from Tufts University, a New England Council member, have completed ground-breaking research that successfully eliminates bacterial infections through a wireless signal. The team, along with researchers from the University of Illinois, successfully cured the staph infection through trials using electronic implants.

First, the team embedded silk-wrapped electronic implants into test mice, and then triggered the devices wirelessly, delivering heat to the staph-infected tissue. Twenty-four hours after the treatment, the infection was gone. The device itself dissolved after 15 days. The innovative silk was created and validated by a Tufts team in 2012— and has already been used for other various projects including creating edible sensors that can tell if your food is spoiled with a smartphone scan, as well as technology that stabilizes vaccines. The method of dissolvable devices is an important step forward in the medical field, making painful and expensive operational procedures to remove the devices unnecessary. Tufts Professor Fiorenzo Omenetto, who helped develop the dissolution-time controlling silk, has high hopes for the silk in the future, citing the possible impact it could have on various fields, including medicine.

“This is an important demonstration step forward for the development of on-demand medical devices that can be turned on remotely to perform a therapeutic function in a patient and then safely disappear after their use, requiring no retrieval,” said Professor Omenetto. “These wireless strategies could help manage post-surgical infection, for example, or pave the way for eventual Wi-Fi drug delivery.”

This research has immense potential to address an array of issues— from eliminating landfill waste to easing the surgical process— and is a significant step forward for various sectors in New England. The New England Council thanks Tufts and its researchers for completing and continuing to improve upon the innovative research.

Read more in Tuft’s press release

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