While you may think that standard bandages already serve as sort-of artificial scabs, the fact is that they mainly just compress and protect the wound – a scab, on the other hand, actually helps it heal. Now, however, scientists are working on a wound dressing that promotes healing in the same fashion as a scab.

The underside of a scab is covered with protein nanofibers that are all aligned in the same direction, not unlike velvet. A team of scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Jinlin University and the First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-Sen University replicated that structure, in their “cytophilic” wound dressing material.


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Instead of protein, the nanofibers in the material were spun from polyurethane in the same pattern as their natural counterparts. These were attached to the underside of a membrane, also made from polyurethane. When “wound-healing-related cells” were introduced to the material, they quickly attached themselves to it in the same lined-up orientation as they would in a scab, thanks to the layout of the nanofibers.

The scientists believe that their material shows great potential as a means of rapid wound healing. A paper on their research was recently published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.

Source: American Chemical Society