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A new wound dressing for faster healing

Created date

May 10th, 2018
a heart shaped bandage

Scientists were able to synthesize the fibronectin proteins into tiny fibers. These fibers were combined together to make a bandage or dressing designed for wounds.

Wound dressings have become more effective as the medical community discovers more about the healing process. Now researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences along with the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering have taken another step toward fast and scar-free healing.

Previous research has shown that a protein called fibronectin, which is found in high amounts in fetal skin, is a vital component of tissue regrowth. Until now, however, it has been difficult to synthesize a protein similar to fibronectin. The Harvard researchers were able to do it using naturally occurring plant and animal proteins inspired by fetal skin tissue.

Like making cotton candy

Using technology that works in a similar way to a cotton candy machine, the scientists were able to synthesize the fibronectin proteins into tiny fibers. These fibers were combined together to make a bandage or dressing designed for wounds.

The researchers tested the bandage on mouse models and discovered that wounds treated with the fibronectin dressing demonstrated 84% tissue restoration within about three weeks, compared to about 55% restoration for wounds treated with standard dressings. In addition, the treated skin was of normal thickness and even regrew hair follicles, which doesn’t typically happen in wounds treated with standard dressings.

These new dressings were originally developed for traumatic wounds of war, but they may eventually be used for all types of wounds.

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