Scientists May Have Found A Way To Prevent Scars From Forming

Scientists are developing new compounds that could stop scars from forming in the first place.

AsianScientist (Aug. 25, 2016) – Scientists in Australia are developing new compounds that could stop scars from forming in the first place. The researchers presented their work at the 252nd National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society.

Biochemist Swaminathan Iyer at the University of Western Australia and colleagues focused on the major needs of patients with burns, keloids and Dupuytren contracture, a hand deformity.

“These patients have extensive scarring, which can impair their movements. There are no current treatments available for them, and we want to change this,” Iyer said.

To help prevent such conditions, Iyer and the research team are studying compounds that inhibit an enzyme called lysyl oxidase, or LOX. During scar formation, this enzyme enables the collagen involved in wound healing to crosslink. This bonding underpins the fundamental biochemical process leading to scar formation, said Iyer.

“During the scarring process, the normal architecture is never restored, leaving the new tissue functionally compromised. So our goal is to stop the scar from the beginning by inhibiting LOX,” Iyer said.

To test the molecules they developed that promote the establishment of normal tissue architecture after wound repair, the team used a ‘scar-in-a-jar’ model that mimics scar formation in a petri dish. They cultured human fibroblasts from scar tissues which overproduce and secrete collagen, as they would in a real injury.

In the study, the researchers added LOX inhibitors to cultures from patients with Dupuytren’s, keloids and other scar tissue, and detected changes using two-photon microscopy combined with biochemical and immunohistochemical analyses.

According to Iyer, the preliminary data strongly suggest that LOX inhibition alters the collagen architecture and restores it to the normal architecture found in the skin.

“Once the in vitro validation has been done, the efficacy of these compounds will be tested in pig and mouse models,” he said. “Depending on the success of the animal studies and optimal drug candidate efficacy, human trials could be undertaken in a few years.”


Source: American Chemical Society; Photo: Iyer Lab.
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