New wound dressings could boost healing and tissue regeneration

Engineering

A nanofibre engineering method being developed in the US could have the potential to accelerate wound healing and improve tissue regeneration.

Researchers at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering took their lead from studies conducted in the late 1970s, which focused on foetal tissue.

“Research in the US has highlighted new methods that could accelerate healing and enhance tissue regeneration.“

The earlier findings showed that foetal wounds incurred before the third trimester of pregnancy left no scars, although later investigations failed to replicate the unique characteristics of foetal skin.

This latest piece of research from the US used a fibre manufacturing method called rotary jet spinning to create a fibrous form of fibronectin - a protein found in foetal but not adult skin that promotes cell binding and adhesion.

Fibres of this protein less than one micrometre in diameter can be collected to form wound dressings and bandages.

In vivo testing found that wounds treated with the fibronectin dressing showed 84 percent tissue restoration within 20 days, compared to 55.6 percent for wounds treated with standard dressing.

Christophe Chantre, a graduate student in the Disease Biophysics Group at Harvard University and first author of the research paper, said: "This is an important step forward.

"Most work done on skin regeneration to date involves complex treatments combining scaffolds, cells and even growth factors. Here we were able to demonstrate tissue repair and hair follicle regeneration using an entirely material approach."

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