Navigation Links
Modified collagen could yield important medical applications

Altered protein could help deliver drugs and shape the growth of engineered tissueCollagen often pops up in beauty products and supermodel lips. But by mating collagen with a molecular hitchhiker, materials scientists at Johns Hopkins hope to create some important medical advances. The researchers have found a simple new way to modify collagen, paving the way for better infection-fighting bandages and a treatment to block the formation of unwanted scar tissue. In addition, tissue engineers may be able to use modified collagen in the lab to help control the formation of tiny new blood vessels that can be used to promote the integration of tissue implants in patients.

Michael (Seungju) Yu of the university's Whiting School of Engineering was scheduled to describe the new collagen modification process and its potential medical uses in an Aug. 30 presentation in Washington, D.C., at the 230th annual meeting of the American Chemical Society. His team also published a paper on the work earlier this year in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

The research focuses on the human body's most common protein. Collagen promotes blood clotting and provides the sponge-like scaffold upon which cells build nerves, bones and skin. Because it is non-toxic, dissolves naturally over time and rarely triggers rejection, collagen is commonly used in cosmetics, drug delivery systems and biocompatible coatings.

Yu's goal is to change some of collagen's biochemical or mechanical properties to give it new medical applications. Traditionally, scientists have altered collagen by using intense heat or chemical reactions, techniques that may damage the protein or limit its safe use in humans. Yu's method, however, requires only physical mixing of collagen with even smaller molecules called collagen mimetic peptides.

"That's the beauty of this," said Yu, an assistant professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. "If you want to attach the se molecules to collagen, you don't have to cook it or use harsh chemicals. You just mix them together in a solution."

In lab experiments, Yu and his colleagues have shown that this kind of molecular marriage does take place. They attached fluorescent tags to the peptides and observed the glow in collagen that had been mixed with the smaller molecules. Exactly how and why the collagen and the peptides join is uncertain. But researchers know that collagen molecules form a distinctive triple-helix in which three long protein strands intertwine like rope. Yu speculates that because the smaller collagen mimetic peptides have a propensity to make similar triple-helix structures, they are naturally attracted to collagen molecules. He believes the peptides make themselves at home within gaps formed by loose collagen strands.

This linkup opens the door to new medical treatments, Yu says, because it is easy to attach bioactive agents to the peptides. When the peptides bind with collagen, these attached agents can dramatically change the way collagen behaves in the body. For example, collagen normally attracts cells to close up a wound and form scar tissue. But this property is not always desirable; a clot can be dangerous inside a blood vessel or at certain injury sites, where scar tissue can interfere with the formation of new nerve connections.

Modified collagen can follow a different course. In their recent journal paper, Yu and his colleagues reported that they had attached a chemical, polyethylene glycol, to the peptides, causing collagen to repel cells instead of attracting them. When the researchers added human cells to a lab dish, the cells migrated toward an untreated collagen film but avoided the modified collagen sample. This form of collagen could stop the formation of blood clots and scar tissue, and scientists may be able to use it to control the shape and organization of cells and tissue that are grown in a lab, Yu says.

Still o ther medical uses are possible. A growth factor joined to collagen could encourage new cells to multiply. An antibiotic attached to collagen could help a collagen-based bandage fight infections over a long period of time. Modified collagen could also release helpful medications while serving as a coating for surgical tools and implants.

"With this process," Yu said, "we can make the collagen that's already found in the human body behave in new ways, including some ways that are not found in nature. Modified collagen can give us great new tool for treating injuries and illnesses."


'"/>

Source:Johns Hopkins University


Related biology news :

1. Genetically Modified Natural Killer Immune Cells Attack, Kill Leukemia Cells
2. Wisconsin scientists find a way to make human collagen in the lab
3. Protein discovery could unlock the secret to better TB treatment
4. Tiny particles could solve billion-dollar problem
5. First atlas of key brain genes could speed research on cancer, neurological diseases
6. Discovery of key proteins shape could lead to improved bacterial pneumonia vaccine
7. A comprehensive response to HIV could prevent 10 million AIDS deaths in Africa by 2020
8. How the environment could be damaging mens reproductive health
9. Dead zone area in Gulf could be increasing, researchers say
10. Growth in biomass could put US on road to energy independence
11. Nano-bumps could help repair clogged blood vessels
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:4/11/2017)... PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. , April 11, ... biometric identity management and secure authentication solutions, today ... million contract by Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity ... technologies for IARPA,s Thor program. "Innovation ... the onset and IARPA,s Thor program will allow ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... NXT-ID, Inc. (NASDAQ:   NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" or ... independent Directors Mr. Robin D. Richards and Mr. ... the company,s corporate governance and expertise. ... Gino Pereira , Chief Executive Officer said," ... and benefiting from their considerable expertise as we move forward ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... 5, 2017 Today HYPR Corp. , ... server component of the HYPR platform is officially ... end-to-end security architecture that empowers biometric authentication across Fortune ... already secured over 15 million users across the financial ... connected home product suites and physical access represent a ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:9/14/2017)... ... September 14, 2017 , ... ... scientist program (FSP)-- a flexible business approach similar to a full-time equivalent ... extensive project-based analytical and solid-state chemistry services and expertise with flexible extended ...
(Date:9/14/2017)... ... September 14, 2017 , ... One of the world’s largest World Marrow Donor ... six hours that day, the GenCure Marrow Donor Program will be signing up potential ... stores in San Antonio. , The registration tables will be staffed by employees from ...
(Date:9/12/2017)... ... September 12, 2017 , ... PhysIQ, ... cloud-based platform for ambulatory patient monitoring and clinical trial support, earned DPharm Idol ... conference in Boston. , Launched in 2005, PhysIQ leverages artificial intelligence (AI) ...
(Date:9/12/2017)... ... September 12, 2017 , ... September 15, 2017. ... Nicholson, Head of the Department of Surgery and Cancer and Director of the ... Coulter Lecture. His presentation, “Analytical Science in Precision Medicine: Facing the Challenges ...
Breaking Biology Technology: