A stretchy patch fosters natural wound repair

A synthetic elastic patch encourages hurt skin and damaged arteries to heal themselves.
Written by Janet Fang, Contributor on

A synthetic elastic patch that encourages healing in may soon be available in hospitals, New Scientist reports.

Wounded skin, severe burns, and damaged arteries are traditionally treated by grafting skin or vessels taken from other parts of the body. But this, of course, creates a new wound.

Artificial materials that prompt skin and blood vessels to regenerate could take the place of those grafts, but these products have thus far all been too artificial, according to study researcher Tony Weiss at the University of Sydney.

Previous research have tried to promote healing using fibrin (a protein found in blood clotting) or collagen derived from animals. However, since neither is typically found in human skin or arteries, they cannot help natural wound repair.

Weiss suggests using a different protein called tropoelastin – which is used to make elastin, a typical component of the skin and arteries. They turned their tropoelastin into a flexible fabric using 'electrospinning' (essentially, inkjet printing of biological cells).

Earlier this year, the team has already shown that this material can encourage damaged arteries to repair themselves in rabbits. And now they say it can do the same for damaged skin.

In work that hasn’t yet been published, the team found no adverse reactions when they injected the material into the deep skin layer of 12 healthy people.

But Weiss says he's secured financial backing from a Sydney-based firm Elastagen, and expects his material to be available in hospitals within 3 years.

Via New Scientist.

Image: skin / KidsHealth

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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