New Topical Film Could Reduce Scarring, Improve Wound Healing
Topical film could help heal chronic wounds like ulcers more efficiently.
By most estimates, including those from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 7 million Americans live with chronic wounds. Some of these wounds are more severe than others, and factors from a person’s genetics to their lifestyle choices (like diet and smoking) influence the wound healing outcomes.
Yet, as Medical News pointed out, most of these wound care regimens share one primary goal: to reduce the risk of scarring while improving overall healing rates. Doctors have all sorts of treatment options available to improve wound healing, from specialized drugs to unique dressing types, and more therapies are being developed all the time, including new skin grafts and electrical stimulation.
Now, doctors everywhere could come to rely on yet another groundbreaking treatment method.
Breaking new ground
According to a recent study published in the journal PharmSciTech, a group of researchers from the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists have created a brand new topical film to heal wounds more effectively. The film itself is one-of-a-kind, made from a specialized polymer that features active molecules.
It’s these specially engineered molecules that help cells regenerate more efficiently and thus reduce the risk of scarring. The film itself contains two key ingredients that aid in the wound healing process. The first is epidermal growth factor, which speeds up cellular movement and tissue regrowth. The second is TGF-β siRNA, which is a form of RNA that impedes a protein normally responsible for the development of scars. Thus far, the researchers with the AAPS have already used the film to treat laboratory animals, including mice.
The results have been quite promising as wounds have not only healed faster but feature less collagen content, which is usually demonstrative of delayed wound healing. In the coming months, the scientists will move on to using the film on chronic wounds like diabetic ulcers, as these are especially difficulty to manage medically.
The rate of amputations has grown significantly in recent years, from 1.4 million in 1996 to nearly 3 million by 2012. There is also the cost associated with treating these ulcers. According to a March 2013 report in the journal Diabetes Care, ulcers account for between $9 billion and $13 billion of the overall cost of treating diabetes in the U.S.
The challenge in treating these ulcers, though, is to develop a solid support matrix; without this foundation, the growth factor and RNA can’t work as effectively. No word yet on when the topical film may be available commercially.
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