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Thursday 20th October 2016

Gel 'to speed up healing'

22nd January 2008

Scientists from the University of Bristol have been working on a gel which can accelerate how quickly wounds are able to heal and minimise scarring


As reported in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, the gel can suppress one "key gene", which boosts blood supply and changes how fresh tissue is "laid down".

The team reported that internal damage - for example due to an operation - might also be able to be treated with the gel.

Scarring is the body's way of healing itself after suffering trauma, but severe scarring can cause problems and in some cases - such as liver scarring - can cause death.

In order for a wound to heal, the body instigates an "inflammatory response". This stimulates white blood cells to travel to the wound and attack harmful bacteria.

The cells also "guide the production" of collagen, which aid in the healing of the wound. However, these cells have a distinctive appearance and cause a scar to form.

The scientists discovered that osteopontin directs what happens in wound healing. The gel they produced stopped this process and made tissue healing and blood supply to the wound accelerate.

They also saw that collagen produced in and around the wound left less scarring.

Researcher Professor Paul Martin said: "We hope that it won't be too long before such therapies are available in the clinic."

Dr Jeff Hart, director of Cica Biomedical Ltd, and a contributor to the Journal of Wound Care, said: "There are all kinds of examples of problems with scarring in the clinical arena, and any therapy that could alleviate, or even eradicate, scarring would be fantastic."

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