Bioengineering assists with wound healing

Posted Mar 11, 2014 by Tim Sandle
Growth factors have been investigated for use in drugs for soft tissue and bone repair. The results have been successful, paving new strategies for regenerative medicine.
A nurse takes a drop of blood from a patient before performing a Rapid Diagnostic Test Orientation  ...
A nurse takes a drop of blood from a patient before performing a Rapid Diagnostic Test Orientation, for hepatitis C
Francois Nascimbeni, AFP/File
When people are wounded, the human body naturally begins a process to repair the damaged tissue. This process is mediated by biological molecules called growth factors. These are proteins that occur naturally in our cells and guide processes ranging from embryonic development to healing.
Based on this, a research group have used bioengineering to significantly improve the efficacy of clinical growth factors in the context of soft tissue and bone repair, while maintaining low and safe doses.
For this the research group screened 25 growth factors against six key proteins from the supporting structure that surrounds organs and tissues in the body. Physiologically, the growth factors were shown to interact with these proteins to stimulate cell growth in damaged tissues by activation of receptors.
In the screening test, the 25 growth factors bound to the six proteins with varying strengths, allowing the researchers to select one growth factor that showed the strongest binding across all six proteins. This growth factor is called PIGF-2.
The group then tested low-dose topical application of the growth factor on diabetic mice, which are a common model for impaired wound healing. The results were successful, and pave the way for human trials.
The research was carried out in France at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. The findings have been published in the journal Science in a paper titled “Growth Factors Engineered for Super-Affinity to the Extracellular Matrix Enhance Tissue Healing.”