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article imageNew materials promote natural healing methods

By Tim Sandle     Jan 11, 2019 in Health
London - Medical researchers have demonstrated how the use of new materials can be used to treat wounds by enhancing the body's natural healing processes.
Scientists from Imperial College London have developed a so-termed bioinspired material that can interact with surrounding tissues in order to promote wound healing. There are a range of materials currently available that can help to promote wound healing, but these have some limitations.
The types of infection-tackling materials in place which can aid with wound healing include collagen sponges that aid the treatment of burns and pressure sores; and scaffold-like implants are used to repair bones. These techniques are hampered by physiological changes to tissues over time.
The new material is able to adapt to changing physiological processes. This is a biomaterial that interact with tissues in 'real-time' as healing takes place. The material is a special class called a traction force-activated payload (TrAP). According to Futurism, the material is a new molecule that can best be described as “talking” to the cells in the area near injured tissues to encourage wound healing.
What this means in practice is that after an injury occurs, cells 'crawl' through the collagen 'scaffolds' found in wounds. As the cells move, they pull on the scaffold. In turn, this activates hidden healing proteins that begin to repair injured tissue.
Commenting on the discovery, lead researcher Dr Ben Almquist states: "TrAPs provide a flexible method of actively communicating with wounds, as well as key instructions when and where they are needed."
He adds: "This intelligent healing is useful during every phase of the healing process, has the potential to increase the body’s chance to recover, and has far-reaching uses on many different types of wounds. This technology could serve as a conductor of wound repair, orchestrating different cells over time to work together to heal damaged tissues."
The research is published in the journal Advanced Materials. The peer reviewed paper is titled "Biologically Inspired, Cell‐Selective Release of Aptamer‐Trapped Growth Factors by Traction Forces."
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