Working Towards Improved Wound Healing Through Tissue Regeneration
Using state of the art bioengineering techniques our scientists are working on a range of projects to improve severe burns treatment and reduce scarring, including keloid scarring, contracture, and soft tissue injury. This research aims to improve the lives of paediatric burns patients, adult burns patients and those suffering from tissue loss due to trauma.
Our projects seek to exploit the potential of tissue engineering, using biomaterials as cell scaffolds upon which cells, including stem cells, taken from the patient’s own body can be grown. These cell-laden scaffolds can either be implanted, for example to replace lost soft tissue, or formulated as a spray for burns to enhance the body’s own regenerative processes.
Wound infection is also known to lead to poor healing following burns injury, and researchers at the Blond McIndoe Research Foundation are developing techniques for the early detection of and diagnosis of infection to reduce the incidence of scarring in these patients.Detailed below are a number of projects that are currently on going at the Blond McIndoe Research Foundations laboratories:
To reduce scarring
Scarring occurs when a wound or burn is so severe that the deeper layers of the skin become damaged. In these instances normal healing often does not occur and surgery is often required to reconstruct the damaged skin or soft tissue. The speed of healing, as described above, is important as if a wound heals within three weeks scarring is minimised.
In order to successfully achieve wound healing within this “window of opportunity” we are developing new methods of using cells and materials together to increase the speed of wound closure.
In addition we are working on ways of reducing scarring by using materials and therapeutics with properties which are specially tailored to elicit biological responses which lead to reductions in scar formation.
Patients who have sustained a traumatic injury such as military blast injury or road traffic accidents or where a tumour has been surgically removed often require major reconstructive surgery to restore their appearance. Additionally the skin over such major injuries often contracts and other problems such poor tendon mobility may lead to disability.
Current treatments include the use of surgical flaps which result in the loss of tissue from another part of the body or fat grafts which often fail to maintain their volume.
By combining stem cells from the patient with innovative new materials we are aiming to improve the techniques available to surgeons to restore tissue volume lost following injury.
Wound infection can lead to poor healing following burn injury. By developing novel techniques to predict poor healing or the early detection of infections greater information regarding the status of patients’ wounds will be available to clinical staff.
The use of skin grafts to close wounds and antibiotics for reducing infection can therefore be much more targeted, reducing the number of operations a patient has to undergo and reducing the unnecessary use of antibiotics.
The Blond McIndoe Research Foundation is a member of the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC). We support the principle of using animals in research when it is necessary to advance understanding of health and disease and to develop new treatments. This research only takes place where there is no alternative available. All AMRC member charities support this principle, as outlined in this statement:
- See more at: http://www.blondmcindoe.org/research-team.html#sthash.NKodASZU.dpuf