Effective and clean healing of wounds can be difficult, especially if the wound covers a wide area and if the wound is accompanied by other health problems. Gizmag recently reported that a research team at UCLA, funded by an NIH grant, has developed a new type of hydrogel that will facilitate wound healing.
The hydrogel “includes microporous annealed particles (MAPs), which are tiny synthetic spheres designed to grip onto one another to form a connected yet permeable structure.” This process, in turn, creates a scaffolding that helps the wound to heal.
The trick was to create a scaffolding that would degrade just fast enough to allow new tissue to grow and close the wound. The use of MAPS also allowed the hydrogel to assume the shape of the wound and to create a porous structure to allow tissues and blood vessels to grow through it. The hydrogel can be tuned to degrade at the rate the wound heals.
The researchers achieved promising results in mouse studies. In a five-day period, 40 percent of the mice treated with the hydrogel had their wounds healed, as opposed to none of the mice in the control group. In a seven-day experiment, 40 percent of the mice with the hydrogel had their wounds healed, opposed to 20 percent of the untreated mice and none of the mice with a nonporous gel.
When hydrogel biotechnology finds its way to a clinical setting, presumably after human trials, it will be a useful tool for treating patients with persistent and debilitating wounds.
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