Better Healing for Skin Wounds

 A newly developed “hydrogel” helps skin wounds heal more quickly, according to researchers from the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science.

The material, which is injected, creates an instant scaffold that allows new tissue to latch on and grow within the cavities formed between linked spheres of gel, according to a news release from the university.

Doctors who treat skin wounds try to keep them moist because wet wounds heal more quickly than dry ones. To keep a wound moist, they often use topical hydrogel dressings or films to seal the wound and seal in moisture. In other cases, ointments are used to fill in the wound. But until now, there has been no way to provide a “scaffold” that will allow new tissue to grow as the treatment degrades. Because of that, tissue growth is slow.

 “Achieving a biomaterial that promotes rapid regeneration while maintaining structural support has been a holy grail in the field of tissue engineering,” said Dino DiCarlo, professor of bioengineering. “Our team has achieved this in an injectable form by combining tailored material chemistry and microfluidic fabrication of uniform spherical building blocks, each about the width of a human hair.”

The research was published in the journal Nature Materials.

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