Hydrogel Spurs Skin Regeneration

Via EurekAlert!: [Researchers] have developed a jelly-like material and wound treatment method that, in early experiments on skin damaged by severe burns, appeared to regenerate healthy, scar-free tissue. ... the researchers reported their promising results from mouse tissue tests. The new treatment has not yet been tested on human patients. But the researchers say the procedure, which promotes the formation of new blood vessels and skin, including hair follicles, could lead to greatly improved healing ... the hydrogel is constructed in such a way that it allows tissue regeneration and blood vessel formation to occur very quickly. ... Inflammatory cells are able to easily penetrate and degrade the hydrogel, enabling blood vessels to fill in and support wound healing and the growth of new tissue ... For burns, the faster this process occurs, [the] less there is a chance for scarring. Originally, [the] team intended to load the gel with stem cells and infuse it with growth factors to trigger and direct the tissue development. Instead, they tested the gel alone [and] were surprised to see such complete regeneration in the absence of any added biological signals. ... The hydrogel is mainly made of water with dissolved dextran, a polysaccharide (sugar molecule chains). ... It also could be that the physical structure of the hydrogel guides the repair .. [Researchers speculate] that the hydrogel may recruit circulating bone marrow stem cells in the bloodstream. ... It's possible the gel is somehow signaling the stem cells to become new skin and blood vessels."

Link: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-12/jhu-itb121311.php

Comments

This is some mighty fine good news!

Posted by: Paul at December 14th, 2011 8:20 PM

Post a comment; thoughtful, considered opinions are valued. New comments can be edited for a few minutes following submission. Comments incorporating ad hominem attacks, advertising, and other forms of inappropriate behavior are likely to be deleted.

Note that there is a comment feed for those who like to keep up with conversations.