Breakthrough Method Can Heal Wounds Without Leaving Scars

Posted: Jan 8 2017, 8:29am CST | by , Updated: Jan 8 2017, 11:49pm CST, in News | Latest Science News

 

Breakthrough Method can Heal Wounds without Leaving Scars
Credit: Penn Medicine
 

The method can transform the most common type of cells found in wounds into normal skin cells or fat cells

Whenever your skin is injured, it goes through a natural repairing process. This healing process often ends up leaving a scar on the skin and once a scar is formed, it never goes away completely.

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine have found a breakthrough way to heal wounds into new skin rather than scar tissue. 

Our skin usually contains an abundance of fat cells, also called adipocytes, which are lost when wounds heal as scars. The new method can turn myofibroblasts, the most common cells found in healing wounds, into fat cells which was previously impossible.

“Essentially, we can manipulate wound healing so that it leads to skin regeneration rather than scarring,” said principal investigator of the project George Cotsarelis. “The secret is to regenerate hair follicles first. After that, the fat will regenerate in response to the signals from those follicles.”

When scars are formed, they don't contain hair follicles, which is likely the reason scars look abnormal in comparison to the surrounding skin. Researchers already know how to stimulate growth of hair follicles in the scar, giving the healed wound a natural look instead of leaving a scar. In the latest study, they have found that hair follicles can regenerate fat cells instead of myofibroblasts. This was replicated in both the mouse and in human cultured cells.

“Typically, myofibroblasts were thought to be incapable of becoming a different type of cell. But our work shows we have the ability to influence these cells, and that they can be efficiently and stably converted into adipocytes.” Cotsarelis said.

The findings may lead to new treatments to prevent scars on the skin after a wound.

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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