While doctors have various materials on hand to dress wounds, researchers continue to look for ways to improve those supplies. A recent development from a team at Imperial College London involves a new molecule that can change how traditional wound care materials react with the body. By interacting with tissues as healing takes place, the molecule can promote accelerated yet natural wound healing.
Here are the details on this innovative wound care development:
What is this new molecule?
The researchers named the new molecules traction force-activated payloads, or TrAPs for short. They're designed to connect wound care dressings and other materials to the body's natural repair systems, allowing the pair to work together to promote healing.
TrAPs are the first of their kind, in that no other scientists have worked with human-made wound care materials in the same way.
"TrAPs are designed to mimic the natural healing process."
How does this healing method work?
When our bodies are wounded, cells make their way to the affected area. During their journey, those cells activate healing proteins that work to repair the injured tissue. TrAPs are designed to mimic this natural healing process.
When testing their TrAPs healing method, the researchers found that the molecules helped activate the healing proteins. Additionally, TrAPs are customizable to activate specific therapeutic proteins depending on the kind of cells present. This customization means that TrAPs can smartly interact with the right kinds of cells at opportune times during the healing process.
Essentially, TrAPs can act as conductors of wound repair, prompting different cells to work together to heal damaged tissues and promote wound healing.
What does this development mean for wound dressings?
The researchers believe that adding TrAPs to existing medical materials could change the way doctors treat various types of wounds and injuries, including fractured bones, scar tissue, damaged nerves and diabetic foot ulcers.
"Our technology could help launch a new generation of materials that actively work with tissues to drive healing," explained Dr. Ben Almquist from the Imperial's Department of Bioengineering. "This sort of intelligent, dynamic healing … has the potential to increase the body's chances to recover."
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