Researchers at National University in Singapore have discovered a new process for how the body heals wounds.
One of the most advanced wound healing methods is the artificial skin – for chronic wounds that do not heal, or take extended periods to heal, artificial skin can provide the added layer of protection that is needed to prompt the wound to mend. However, while there have been large improvements in the effectiveness of artificial skin or even grown skin, details as to how our tissues naturally grow have yet to be uncovered.
A recent study conducted by National University in Singapore, may provide added details as to how our skin regenerates, and may improve our efforts to grow and create tissues for future wound care.
Research at National University focused around the outermost layer of skin, called the keratinocytes. The skin cells that make up the outermost layer create bridges of cells that can migrate, en masse to help the body create a protective layer over the affected wound area.
Previous to the study, no one was sure how the body healed an area devoid of tissue.
With the results from this study, companies that currently manufacture and engineer artificial tissue may be able to fine tune their process:
“Our study will hopefully pave the way for designing better alternatives that can overcome the current limitations in the field of skin tissue engineering and promote satisfactory skin regeneration,” explained professor Lim Chwee Teck, a lead researcher on the study. “Some potential applications include treating skin burn wounds as well as characterizing the mechanical properties of cell sheets.”
Research will likely have large implications for burn wounds in particular. According to Medscape, the type and extent of a burn wound is often correlated to the risk a patient has of future wound infections. By creating a healthy barrier of new skin at a faster rate, these large burned areas of tissue will be less prone to infection.
The National University team hopes to continue their research in the area of tissue development. According to Infection Control Today, the team will be further delving into the mechanical properties of skin cells, which will likely assist patients and clinicians in treating everything from infected tissue to third degree burn wounds to diabetic ulcers on spots like the back, hips and feet.