Protein combination makes wound healing twice as fast

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Last Updated: 2001-08-21 11:48:40 EDT (Reuters Health)

BRISBANE, Australia (Reuters Health) – By using a special combination of proteins, Australian researchers say they can make burns and other wounds heal twice as fast as normal.

Dr. Zee Upton and Dr. David Leavesley from the Centre for Molecular Biotechnology at the Queensland University of Technology have assembled naturally occurring proteins in a complex outside the body.

Project leader Dr. Upton said the breakthrough came after they realized that three of the body's proteins work together to heal wounds. She said the proteins were isolated years ago, but until now their mechanism of action in combination had not been recognized.

The university has a patent application for the protein combination, which will be developed into a complex for injection or application directly to wounds. The complex is expected to help speed repair of major wounds from burns, accidents or major surgery and help heal chronic ulcers in diabetics and bedridden patients. It should also have uses in skin grafting, as a coating on orthopaedic implants and in tissue engineering.

In addition, the complex could also be used in cases where the normal repair mechanism cannot keep up with the damage, such as in a malnourished patient.

The researchers believe it may be possible to treat cell proliferation where wound healing causes large scars, such as in burns and car accident victims, or alternatively use the complex for conditions such as cancer and psoriasis. They plan to first use the complex for growing cells for skin grafting and then conduct clinical trials in which the complex is administered to patients.

The research was presented at the Commercialising Health Innovations Forum in Sydney on August 15.

-Westport Newsroom 203 319 2700

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