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Featured Articles

January 16, 2019

Traction Forces Release Growth Factors from Cells to Heal Wounds

Molecules known as traction-force activated payloads (TrAPs) made from strands of DNA containing different chemical groups might be used to help heal wounds, according to new experiments by researchers at Imperial College London. The new technology may lead to the development of a new generation of materials that interact with damaged tissues to constructively promote the process of repair. There are many examples of materials that are routinely employed to help heal wounds. These include collagen sponges that treat burns and scaffold-like implants that repair bones. “These materials act as passive bystanders, however, during tissue repair whereas wound healing is a highly dynamic, highly coordinated process involving many different cells over a period of time,” explains Ben Almquist, who led this research study. “TrAPs may provide the opportunity to design materials that ‘talk’ with these different cells in different ways and at different times to stimulate tissue repair processes.” Read More

Using Light to Stop Itch Could Provide Relief From Skin Diseases

Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Rome have used light to stop itch — at best an annoyance and at worst an uncomfortable chronic symptom — in mice. They used NIR light to activate a phototoxic agent that selectively targets itch-sensing cells, which are located in the upper surface of the skin. When the agent is injected into a mouse’s affected skin area and the area is illuminated with the NIR light, the itch-sensing cells withdraw from the skin, reducing itch-associated behaviors in the mouse and allowing the skin to heal. The researchers said that the effect of the treatment can last several months.  Read More

Balance of Biomolecular Signals Stimulates Healing by Setting Skin Cells Into Motion

Balance of Biomolecular Signals Stimulates Healing by Setting Skin Cells Into Motion Stained images of human skin 72 hours after wounding. (left) A control wound treated with PBS, (right) a wound treated with spermine. Credit: A*STAR Skin Research Institute of SingaporeAfter a flesh wound, skin cells march forward to close the gap and repair the injury. Findings from a team led by Leah Vardy at A*STAR's Skin Research Institute of Singapore now demonstrate how a carefully regulated set of molecular cues helps coordinate this healing migration. Vardy was particularly interested in a trio of organic molecules known as polyamines, which play a role in cellular proliferation. "They are well studied in cancer, but much less is known about how changes in their levels can drive normal cellular behavioural changes," says Vardy. An enzyme called AMD1 facilitates the conversion of one polyamine, putrescine, into two other polyamines, spermidine and spermine.  Read More

What is LED Therapy?

LEDs or light emitting diodes are semiconductor devices that release light, of different wavelengths, when an electric current passes through. LED phototherapy is a non-invasive and non-thermal procedure, involving the use of LEDs for a range of medical and aesthetic uses. LED therapy has been employed to treat a multitude of skin conditions, such as acne vulgaris, psoriasis, keratosis, precancerous tissue and healing of wounds. It is also a popular method for skin rejuvenation, and is widely used by practicing dermatologists. LED phototherapy can be used as a stand-alone therapy or it can be combined with other therapies like peels and micro-needling to combat a variety of skin conditions. Read More