Australian scientists say they've found a way to make wounds heal at least twice as fast as they would normally.
In preliminary findings, a team at the Australian University of Technology reports they have been able to raise the effect of a number of key hormones involved in the body's own tissue-repair system by assembling them into a wound-healing "complex".
The researchers believe that although the complex occurs in nature, a current established opinion that hormones operate independently have prevented it from being recognised.After testing their artificially assembled complex on skin cells, the researchers were surprised to find that not only did it initiate a normal injury response in the cells, but heightened it.
Dr Leavesley says they have yet to understand why this is the case, but he believes that when the hormones are assembled in the complex they are more easily recognised by the body's repairing cells.
While the wound-healing complex exists in nature, it probably doesn't last in that form for very long. To help maintain it, the researchers plan to attach it to biodegradable "scaffold" which can be "blown" deep into the wound.
Dr Leavesley says other efforts in wound-healing enhancement using natural substances have only been able to mend one kind of wound. By combining different hormones in different proportions in the complex, the QUT team has been able to stimulate the healing response of different types of cells including muscle, bone, skin, blood vessel and fat cells.
"Our wound healing complex has more universal application than other systems," he says.
While initial trials will focus on skin grafting for burn and accident victims, the researchers also hope to use the wound-healing complex in treating chronic ulcers and to help speed the recovery of joint replacement patients.