Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Genetically altered cells may help artificial skin fight infection

09.01.2007
Cincinnati burn researchers have created genetically modified skin cells that, when added to cultured skin substitutes, may help fight off potentially lethal infections in patients with severe burns.

Dorothy Supp, PhD, and her team found that skin cells that were genetically altered to produce higher levels of a protein known as human beta defensin 4 (HBD4) killed more bacteria than normal skin cells.

HBD4 is one in a class of proteins that exist throughout the body as part of its natural defense system. Researchers have only recently begun targeting these tiny molecules as a way to combat infections.

"If we can add these genetically modified cells to bioengineered skin substitutes, it would provide an important defense system boost during the initial grafting period, when the skin is most susceptible to infection," explains Supp, an adjunct research associate professor at the University of Cincinnati (UC) and researcher at Cincinnati Shriners Hospital for Children.

... more about:
»Infection »Supp »burn »genetically »graft »skin

Supp says defensins could become an effective alternative method for burn wound care and infection control. Using them in cultured skin substitutes, she adds, could also decrease a patient's risk for infection, improve skin graft survival and reduce dependence on topical antibiotics.

UC researchers report these findings in the January issue of the Journal of Burn Care and Research.

Cultured skin substitutes are grown in a laboratory using cells from a burn patient's own skin. These cells are cultured, expanded and combined with a spongy layer of collagen to make skin grafts that are reattached to the burn wound.

"Cultured skin substitutes are improving the lives of many burn patients, but they also have limitations--including an increased susceptibility to infection," says Supp. "Because cultured skin grafts aren't connected to the circulatory system at the time of grafting, they aren't immediately exposed to circulating antibiotic drugs or antibodies from the body's immune system to fight off infection."

Currently, physicians manage cultured skin graft infections during the early healing period by continually wrapping the wound in dressings soaked in antimicrobial drugs. Although this protects the grafts, Supp says, it can also contribute to the emergence of drug-resistant strains of bacteria.

"When you give the patient the same drug topically and orally, the risk for drug-resistant bacteria to emerge is greatly increased," says Supp. "We need alternative methods for combating infection in burn patients.

In this three-year laboratory study, Supp isolated the HBD4 gene from donated tissue samples and transferred it into surface skin cells (keratinocytes) to give them enhanced infection-fighting abilities. These cells were then infected with pseudomonas aeruginosa, a type of bacteria found commonly in hospitals, and allowed to incubate. Analysis revealed that the genetically altered cells containing HBD4 were more resistant to microbial infections than the unaltered cells.

"If it proves effective in additional testing," Supp predicts, "this type of gene therapy could be a promising alternative infection control method for burn wounds."

Researchers hope to begin testing this approach in an animal model in early 2007.

Amanda Harper | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uc.edu

Further reports about: Infection Supp burn genetically graft skin

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht BigH1 -- The key histone for male fertility
14.12.2017 | Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)

nachricht Guardians of the Gate
14.12.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Plasmonic biosensors enable development of new easy-to-use health tests

14.12.2017 | Health and Medicine

New type of smart windows use liquid to switch from clear to reflective

14.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

BigH1 -- The key histone for male fertility

14.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>