When skin is irreparably damaged by burns, skin taken from other areas of the patient’s body – or created by tissue engineering – is grafted onto the burned area. Although grafts often heal successfully, the skin shrinks significantly in nearly a third of patients. The process is painful and disabling, and particularly common in children.
Karima Bertal and colleagues at the University of Sheffield have now developed an enzyme-inhibiting drug which can halve this contraction, and loaded it into a biocompatible polymer gel to smear onto the graft. Bertal presented the group’s preliminary results at the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Biomaterials conference in Manchester, UK, earlier this month.
Sheila MacNeil, the scientist who leads the research, told Chemistry World that currently the only accepted treatment for graft contraction is to have the patient wear pressure garments – extremely tight clothing that pushes down on the dermis to prevent it forming bumps of contracted tissue.
Her research team found that an enzyme called lysyl oxidase is involved in causing the graft contraction, as it ties together collagen fibres in the deep dermal layer of the skin. Then they identified a compound that inhibits the enzyme, called 3-aminopropionitrile, and combined it with a biocompatible polymer gel invented by chemist Steve Armes, also at Sheffield.
Tests of the drug on human skin samples were successful: ‘The control grafts contract to about 60 per cent of their original size, but [when the drug is applied] they only contract down to 80 per cent,’ Bertal told Chemistry World.
The gel also works as they hoped: ‘Our polymer gel is well tolerated by the skin and releases the drug in a controlled manner over about 48 hours,’ she said.
The team has now started testing the drug-gel combination itself on human skin samples, and early results looks promising, said MacNeil. ‘If they’re successful, we would like to move into the clinic,’ she said.
Brian Emsley | alfa
Infants later diagnosed with autism follow adults’ gaze, but seldom initiate joint attention
24.05.2019 | Schwedischer Forschungsrat - The Swedish Research Council
When wheels and heads are spinning - DFG research project on motion sickness in automated driving
22.05.2019 | Technische Universität Berlin
Researchers from Sweden's Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg present a new method which can double the energy of a proton beam produced by laser-based particle accelerators. The breakthrough could lead to more compact, cheaper equipment that could be useful for many applications, including proton therapy.
Proton therapy involves firing a beam of accelerated protons at cancerous tumours, killing them through irradiation. But the equipment needed is so large and...
A new assessment of NASA's record of global temperatures revealed that the agency's estimate of Earth's long-term temperature rise in recent decades is accurate to within less than a tenth of a degree Fahrenheit, providing confidence that past and future research is correctly capturing rising surface temperatures.
The most complete assessment ever of statistical uncertainty within the GISS Surface Temperature Analysis (GISTEMP) data product shows that the annual values...
Physicists at the University of Basel are able to show for the first time how a single electron looks in an artificial atom. A newly developed method enables them to show the probability of an electron being present in a space. This allows improved control of electron spins, which could serve as the smallest information unit in a future quantum computer. The experiments were published in Physical Review Letters and the related theory in Physical Review B.
The spin of an electron is a promising candidate for use as the smallest information unit (qubit) of a quantum computer. Controlling and switching this spin or...
Engineers at the University of Tokyo continually pioneer new ways to improve battery technology. Professor Atsuo Yamada and his team recently developed a...
With a quantum coprocessor in the cloud, physicists from Innsbruck, Austria, open the door to the simulation of previously unsolvable problems in chemistry, materials research or high-energy physics. The research groups led by Rainer Blatt and Peter Zoller report in the journal Nature how they simulated particle physics phenomena on 20 quantum bits and how the quantum simulator self-verified the result for the first time.
Many scientists are currently working on investigating how quantum advantage can be exploited on hardware already available today. Three years ago, physicists...
29.04.2019 | Event News
17.04.2019 | Event News
15.04.2019 | Event News
27.05.2019 | Information Technology
27.05.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
27.05.2019 | Life Sciences