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Medication May Improve Scar Healing

Juvista scores well for skin appearance in 3 trials

THURSDAY, April 9 (HealthDay News) -- The drug avotermin (brand name Juvista) seems to improve the healing of skin scars, according to three new studies.

Some volunteers had avotermin (Human Recombinant TGFa3) administered to their skin before wounding and again 24 hours later to both sides of 1-centimeter incisions that went all the way through the skin of the upper inner arm to the depth of the underlying muscle. Identical wounds were inflicted on other volunteers who received a placebo or standard wound care.

Two studies found that patients who received avotermin scored an average of five points higher on a visual 100-point scale of scar appearance after six months, and an average of eight points higher after one year.

The third study found that all concentrations of avotermin produced significantly improved total scar appearance scores versus placebo -- from 15 points at the 5 nanogram dose up to 64 points at the 500 nanogram dose. The researcher said 60 percent of scars treated with avotermin showed 25 percent or less abnormal orientation of the collagen fibers in the skin, compared with 33 percent of scars treated with placebo.

"Results of these phase 1-2 studies show that avotermin is a new class of prophylactic medicine promoting the regeneration of healthy skin and improving scar appearance compared with controls," according to Mark Ferguson, of the University of Manchester, U.K., and colleagues. "With low doses injected locally around the time of surgery, avotermin is a well tolerated and convenient treatment. These studies suggest that avotermin has potential to provide an accelerated and permanent improvement in scarring."

The study was published April 9 in The Lancet.

More information

The American Academy of Dermatology has more about scars.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: The Lancet, news release, April 9, 2009

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