The key to ending the scars was hidden in an embryo: this is how the plasters of the future are developing
If, as Joan Margarit said "a wound is also a place to live", this group of researchers from the Wyss Institute at Harvard University must be the kings of eviction. They have designed "active adhesive dressings" that, inspired by the cellular repair of human embryos, are able to actively participate in and speed up the healing process.
After all, for millions of years the only way we've had to heal a wound was to cover it to keep it moist and reduce exposure to infection agents. In other words, the only way to heal wounds we had was to wait for them to heal on their own and not hinder much in the meantime.
A band aid and voila!
Unsuccessful innovation. Although new approaches have emerged in recent years to control (and strengthen) specific aspects of the healing process (from controlling pH to administering drugs locally), the truth is that all these alternatives have proven to be expensive, difficult to manufacture and complex to adapt to the patient. According to the work published in Science Advance, the new Wyss strips are a scalable system that can change things.
A New Approach ... Embryo-Inspired "Active Adhesive Dressings" are inspired by embryo development. The skin of the embryos, curiously, can heal completely without forming scar tissue. The mechanism is similar to closing a bag with a cord: embryonic cells produce fibers made of actin that surrounds and contracts the wound. However, this property is lost relatively soon, and after a certain point, healing injuries begin to leave scars.
The researchers, who have spent years searching for "equivalent" solutions to this embryonic approach, seem to have found a way to imitate it. They use a thermo-sensitive polymer known as PNIPAm, which repels water and contracts at around 30 degrees. Thus, when exposed to body heat, the gel begins to contract and stimulate the healing process. In addition, it has silver nanoparticles to avoid infections.
Much remains to be done Tests have already been done on numerous animals (especially pigs and mice) and the results seem quite good: "The adhesives adhered to pigskin ten times more forcefully than the traditional band-aid and prevented bacteria from grow, so this technology is already significantly better than the most widely used wound protection products, "the researchers explained.
Of course, it is soon. It has not yet been tested in human preclinical phases (so there are years left for it to reach the market). However, it is a promising way to improve our therapeutic approaches without resorting to expensive techniques that are difficult to apply. As is often the case, taking inspiration from nature is a great way to solve our problems. She solved them earlier.