New biodegradable membrane reduces wound healing time by 50%

Treatments to regenerate skin from burns become tedious and long lasting; however, Mexican researchers developed a biodegradable membrane that allows to transfer skin cells (keratinocytes) to burn wounds, when placed on the wound. The method reduces healing time by 50 percent.

A link between the Autonomous University of the State of Morelos (UAEM), south of Mexico City, and the Scientific Research Centre of Yucatan (CICY), southeast of the country, gave way to develop the processes (synthesis and cell culture) for the development of a cellular dressing in the treatment of people with burn wounds, which involves attaching keratinocytes (predominant cells of the epidermis) to the lesion in order to release proteins (growth factors) and accelerate the healing process.

Functionality and cost of manufacture of this biomaterial opened the possibility of transferring the technology to two institutions: the Hospital for Children and Teenagers in the State of Morelos and the company Rubio Pharma and Associates. The first is interested in caring for the children of the hospital, while the pharmaceutical will focus on developing a product for adults under the name Epiderm-pro.

Jesús Santa-Olalla Tapia, UAEM professor and leader of the research group, said Epiderm-pro is similar to a gauze that will be placed over the wound, and degrade naturally without removing it, unlike similar products, which come with a matrix and require to be detached and reattached several times, a situation that alters the healing process.

For now, the biodegradable material is under biological studies in cultured cells, rabbits and mice, to which small lesions are performed to evaluate the effectiveness of the prototype. The next step, with the aid of the pharmaceutical and medical institution, will begin testing in preclinical models in larger animals, to demonstrate its utility in humans, said the specialist in pharmacology.

Part of the agreement with the hospital, implies to provide physical areas where the Diagnosis and Molecular Medicine "Dr. Ruy Pérez Tamayo" unit was installed in order to conduct the initial studies for the biomaterial and standardize culture procedures, which finally allowed to develop the cell dressing and apply it to murine models.