Texas researchers have announced the development of first-of-its-kind cloth that releases nitric oxide gas - an advance that will help people with diabetes and preserve organs harvested for transplantation.
The porous material termed zeolites, incorporated into the cloth, point the way to therapeutic bandages and wraps that can deliver healing nitric oxide.
It is a known fact that nitric oxide (NO) helps increase blood flow and regulates a range of other body functions.
Scientists have tried for years to find practical ways to store and deliver NO for use in medicine.
Lead researchers Kenneth Balkus and Harvey Liu believe that zeolites may work as it can soak up and store large amounts of gases like NO.
The scientists describe development of a new bandage composed of nitric oxide-absorbing zeolites embedded in a special water-repellant polymer. In experiments with laboratory rats, the bandage slowly released nitric oxide and increased blood flow.
"The bandage could be used to wrap a donor organ ensuring intimate contact and direct delivery of nitric oxide," state the report. "Additionally, these interwoven fabrics could also find applications in smart textiles such as NO-releasing socks for diabetic patients, who have been shown to produce less nitric oxide than healthy patients."
The study appears in ACS' Chemistry of Materials, a bi-weekly journal.