Proteins that play an important role in the wound healing process have been identified by scientists.
The paper's senior author, David M. Ornitz, MD, PhD, the Alumni Endowed Professor of Developmental Biology, studies a group of proteins known as fibroblast growth factors, or the FGF family of proteins. FGF proteins are signaling molecules that play broad roles in embryonic development, tissue maintenance, and wound healing. They interact with specific receptor molecules, FGFRs, located on the surface of many types of cells in the body.
The new work suggested that increasing FGF signaling in the body might help improve wound healing by increasing new blood vessel growth following an injury. Especially in those who have trouble healing, such as patients with diabetes-related foot ulcers. It was pointed out that human FGF2 has already been in clinical use as a topical spray in Japan for foot ulcers and similar wound healing purposes.
The research also suggested these FGF pathways are not involved with normal development and tissue maintenance, any treatments boosting or inhibiting these signals would likely not affect healthy tissue.
The study is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).