1/13/16 Some skin wounds too large and difficult to treat, like burn wounds. Traditional treatment of a large burn wound often involve hydrogels (water-based dressings). They keep the wound hydrated and act as a barrier to infection, but they don’t provide the physical support for new skin. Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), have developed a synthetic biomaterial that fills wounds and aids in regeneration of skin cells, which ultimately improves wound healing. It is a reformulated hydrogel that incorporates microporous annealed particles that adhere to each other creating a strong scaffold that allows new cells to colonize and begin making new skin.
The idea of a porous scaffold is not new, but the issue that was had was the scaffold could not take the shape of the wound leaving areas unprotected. This new technology overcomes this issue by binding blocks to each other creating an interconnected porous network. As an added bonus, this new hydrogel can be tuned to an individual’s wound, providing tailored degradation of the scaffold as new skin is formed.
In lab tests porous scaffolds with extensive cell networks formed within two days and promoted skin growth over the course of one week. This micro technology could be very beneficial for the millions of people who have wounds that won’t heal. It could make a major improvement in the burn and diabetic fields.