Tech to improve wound management, resolve excessive scarring

Wednesday, 09 August, 2023

Tech to improve wound management, resolve excessive scarring

Increasing infection rates as a result of rising antimicrobial resistance have left vulnerable patients with challenges healing wounds and preventing scars.

A common side effect of diabetes, obesity, vascular and autoimmune diseases, there is very little known as to why some chronic wounds don’t heal and why others leave deep scars.

University of South Australia regenerative medicine researcher Dr Xanthe Strudwick is working with a team of researchers at UniSA’s Future Industries Institute to investigate. He said there are currently no effective diagnostic tools to predict whether a patient will develop a chronic wound or suffer from excessive scarring.

Strudwick is one of eight early-career researchers who will be officially named South Australian 2023 Young Tall Poppies of Science at an event hosted by the SA Museum this Friday.

“My research takes a two-pronged approach to improve burn and diabetic healing, understanding the fundamental biology and proteins responsible for impaired healing and scar formation and, in collaboration with physicists and chemists, developing advanced wound dressings and technologies to treat infected wounds,” Strudwick said.

“A protein called Flightless I (Flii) is present in high amounts in both burns and diabetic patients and seems to impair healing as well as form scars.

“We need to work out how to reduce the levels of this protein at the same time as developing advanced hydrogel dressings that can deliver antimicrobials and oxygen to successfully treat infected wounds.

“Ideally, we would like to reach a state where wounds completely heal and where the restored skin appears identical to and works as well as the original. Sadly, we don’t have treatments which enable this right now but hopefully in the future we will.”

To learn more about Strudwick’s research, visit this link.

Image: Dr Xanthe Strudwick. Credit: University of South Australia.

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