Nanoparticles Spur Wound Healing

An example of one of the ways in which the natural process of healing can be adjusted, or rescued when it fails: "investigators have developed a novel system for delivery of growth factors to chronic wounds such as pressure sores and diabetic foot ulcers. ... the team [reports] fabricating nanospheres containing keratinocyte growth factor (KGF), a protein known to play an important role in wound healing, fused with elastin-like peptides. When suspended in a fibrin gel, these nanoparticles improved the healing of deep skin wounds in diabetic mice. ... It is quite amazing how just one dose of the fusion protein was enough to induce significant tissue regeneration in two weeks. Previous reports have suggested that KGF can help heal chronic wounds. But in most studies the growth factor was applied to the surface of the wound, limiting its availability to deeper tissues and requiring repeat applications to produce any clinical benefit. Using large quantities of growth factor would make this therapy extremely expensive. Our work circumvents these limitations by more efficiently delivering KFG throughout the wound to stimulate tissue regeneration. ... The authors describe developing a fusion protein from recombinant KGF and elastin-like-peptides, which are major constituents of skin and other connective tissues. Laboratory experiments showed that the fusion protein retained the wound-healing properties of both elastin and KGF and that it rapidly and efficiently self-assembled into nanoparticles in response to a simple increase in temperature. When applied to deep skin wounds in genetically diabetic mice, the nanoparticles accelerated healing by stimulating the formation of both surface epithelial tissue and thick fibrous connective tissue."

Link: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-01/mgh-gna012611.php

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