A biodegradable membrane that allows transferring skin cells to burn wounds has been developed by Mexican researchers, cutting the healing time in half.
The biomaterial involves attaching keratinocytes – the predominant cells in the outermost layer of the skin – to the lesion in order to release proteins that accelerate the healing process.
Jesús Santa-Olalla Tapia, one of the researchers, said Epiderm-pro is similar to a gauze and when placed over the wound will degrade naturally, without having to remove it – unlike similar existing products that need detachment and reattachment.
The next step after patenting the absorbable material is to commercialise the prototype in partnership with pharmaceutical companies, which have already showed an interest.
Similarly, a team of London-based scientists have developed special nano-needles that can prompt the body to repair itself, as E&T reported this week.
In a trial on mice, the nano-needles – essentially tiny sponge-like porous structures – have been proven to help the animals grow new blood vessels.
The nano-needles, developed by a team from Imperial College London in cooperation with Houston Methodist Research Institute, have to be soaked in nucleic acids, which form the building blocks of all living matter.
By injecting the nucleic acid into a damaged organ using the nano-needle, the researchers believe they can trigger the body to self-repair itself.
“This is a quantum leap compared to existing technologies for the delivery of genetic material to cells and tissues,” said Ennio Tasciotti from the Department of Nanomedicine at Houston Methodist Research Institute.
“By gaining direct access to the cytoplasm of the cell we have achieved genetic reprogramming at an incredible high efficiency. This will let us personalise treatments for each patient, giving us endless possibilities in sensing, diagnosis and therapy.”