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    Synthetic hydrogel shows promise in wound healing

    Researchers have developed a synthetic hydrogel that shows promise as a treatment to quicken wound healing and regenerate normal skin tissue.

    READ: Dermatologists are wound care specialists

    The product has only been tested in mice, and there’s no way to know if it will work in people. Still, researchers are hopeful, and they’re pursuing studies in larger animals.

    “We believe that we have only scratched the surface in regards to what the technology can do. We are currently investigating its effectiveness in regenerating functional tissue for a range of tissues outside of skin,” says study co-author Westbrook Weaver Ph.D., an adjunct researcher with the department of bioengineering at the University of California at Los Angeles School of Engineering.

    At issue: Improving wound treatment.

    “There are many naturally sourced products out there that can accelerate wound healing, but because they are so expensive, their use is limited to chronic non-healing wounds, many of which require multiple applications of the product before full healing occurs,” says study co-author Philip Scumpia, M.D., Ph.D., clinical instructor of Dermatology and Dermatopathology at the UCLA Division of Dermatology.

    ALSO READ: 5 vital wound care factors

    Hydrogels are one possible treatment since they can chemically and physically match soft tissue, says study lead author Donald Griffin, Ph.D., a post-doctoral fellow with the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the UCLA School of Engineering.

    “Unfortunately, their clinical adoption has been limited by the inability of current hydrogel technologies to integrate well with soft tissue, particularly along the hydrogel/tissue interface, often resulting in inflammation rejection via a foreign body response,” he says.

    The researchers developed a hydrogel formulated with microporous annealed particles that adhere to each other. The gel is unique, Dr. Griffin says, because it’s “micro-porous while still being flowable.”

    NEXT: Study results

    Randy Dotinga
    Randy Dotinga is a medical writer based in San Diego, Calif.

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