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In third-degree burn treatment, hydrogel helps grow new, scar-free skin
Date:12/13/2011

ood and Drug Administration would most likely to classify it as a device. Further animal testing is planned before trials on human patients begin. But Gerecht said, "It could be approved for clinical use after just a few years of testing."

John Harmon, a professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and director of surgical research at Bayview, described the mouse study results as "absolutely remarkable. We got complete skin regeneration, which never happens in typical burn wound treatment."

If the treatment succeeds in human patients, it could address a serious form of injury. Harmon, a coauthor of the PNAS journal article, pointed out that 100,000 third-degree burns are treated every year in U. S. burn centers like Bayview's. A burn wound dressing using the new hydrogel could have enormous potential for use in applications beyond common burns, including treatment of diabetic patients with foot ulcers, Harmon said.

Guoming Sun, a Maryland Stem Cell Research Postdoctoral Fellow in Gerecht's lab and lead author on the paper, has been working with these hydrogels for the past three years, developing ways to improve the growth of blood vessels, a process called angiogenesis. "Our goal was to induce the growth of functional new blood vessels within the hydrogel to treat wounds and ischemic disease, which reduces blood flow to organs like the heart," Sun said. "These tests on burn injuries just proved its potential."

Gerecht says the hydrogel is constructed in such a way that it allows tissue regeneration and blood vessel formation to occur very quickly. "Inflammatory cells are able to easily penetrate and degrade the hydrogel, enabling blood vessels to fill in and support wound healing and the growth of new tissue," she said. For burns, the faster this process occurs, Gerecht added, the less there is a chance for scarring.

Originally, her team intended to load the gel with stem cells and infuse it with growth
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Contact: Phil Sneiderman
prs@jhu.edu
443-287-9960
Johns Hopkins University
Source:Eurekalert  

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