Healing chronic wounds through use of nanoscale surfaces
(NC&T/UWM) But thanks to funding from the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery seed grant program, UW–Madison researchers have been freed to explore a novel and revolutionary approach to coaxing persistent wounds to heal. By manipulating the nature of surfaces that cells sit on, they hope to find the key to healing chronic wounds that, to date, have been difficult to deal with.
Led by Christopher Murphy, a veterinary ophthalmologist at the School of Veterinary Medicine, the group plans to "engineer" the wound bed to encourage cells to behave in such a way that healing is accelerated.
"What we're finding is that the intrinsic properties of the surface that cells sit on affects almost every fundamental behavior of cells," says Murphy.
He and a seven-member team of chemists, biologists, engineers and surgeons are looking for just the right combination of microscale surface texture and chemistry that will accelerate healing.
|Christopher Murphy. (Photo: UWM)|
The team hopes to capitalize on this information to get persistent wounds to heal.
"This goes beyond conventional strategies," Murphy notes. "We're looking at the possibility of development of a new paradigm in the management of pathologic wounds."
He anticipates that their approach will be customizable for each patient, allowing personalized therapeutic strategies appropriate for each unique condition.
"We'll be able to tailor the healing process to the individual," Murphy says. "It would decrease patient suffering and result in accelerated return to normal function."
He notes that wounds may persist for reasons including inadequate blood flow, inappropriate response of connective tissue or lack of innervation and the trophic factors associated with the nerve endings. It's possible that each deficiency needs a different approach to the healing process.
Also on the project are chemical and bioengineering professor Nicholas Abbott; zoology professor William Bement; veterinary surgeon Jonathan McAnulty; chemical and biological engineering professor Paul Nealey; biochemistry and chemistry professor Ronald Raines; and surgeon Michael Schurr.
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