New Queensland discovery set to reduce serious scarring

New Queensland discovery set to reduce serious scarring

7th May 2021 Off By adpublisher

Researchers have uncovered a key component of how scars form, giving them insight into how to prevent serious scarring in burns and trauma patients.

When the skin suffers trauma, the body rapidly creates new blood vessels at the injury site to pump as much blood to the area as possible for healing.

Researchers have developed a treatment to significantly reduce scarring by targeting a specific gene that is central to the healing process.Credit:AP

But University of Queensland professor Kiarash Khosrotehrani said their research had confirmed for the first time that the severity of the scarring comes from what the body then does with those excess blood vessels.

“Once the wound is closed, all these blood vessels are left there, and it was always thought that they simply dissolved,” he said.

“But what we found was that these blood vessels become part of the scars. They produce a lot of the collagen deposits that form scars.”

Professor Khosrotehrani said the researchers discovered that a specific gene, known as SOX9, determined whether cells in the blood vessels would be converted into fibroblast cells that produce the collagen.

The researchers then developed a way to turn off that gene, which doesn’t stop the healing process but drastically reduces the scar formation.

“We used an RNA-based drug, siRNA’s – or small-interfering RNAs – which can be delivered directly onto a wound. They get into the cells directly and disrupt them in a very targeted way,” he said.

“We were able to reduce the levels of scarring by around 30 per cent, which to a clinician is a significant amount.”