Newly identified polymer greatly boosts the healing of diabetic wounds
Chronic diabetic skin wounds are notoriously slow to heal, sometimes becoming so infected that amputations are required. A newly identified polymer could help keep that from happening, by radically boosting the healing process.
In a study conducted at the University of Nottingham, a team led by Prof. Amir Ghaemmaghami started out by screening 315 different polymers, analyzing the chemical makeup of each one. The scientists were looking for polymers that promoted the activity of immune cells and fibroblasts, the latter being cells that contribute to the formation of connective tissue.
It was eventually found that a biocompatible polymer known as poly(tetrahydrofurfuryl methacrylate) – or pTHFuA, for short – was the most effective.
The researchers proceeded to create pTHFuA-covered microparticles, which were directly applied to wounds on animal models. As compared to untreated controls, the polymer-treated wounds exhibited three times more fibroblast activity over a 96-hour period, resulting in over 80% wound closure.
It is now hoped that pTHFuA could be applied to standard diabetic wound dressings as a therapeutic coating.
"This research is a significant step towards being able to create a new, low-cost, effective treatment for diabetic wounds," said Ghaemmaghami. "The results we saw were achieved in just one application, which could be transformative for patients whose current treatment often involves repeated treatments delivered by trained health professionals."
A paper on the study was recently published in the journal Advanced Materials.
Source: University of Nottingham