Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Come Back Stronger

New type of hydrogel that triggers scar-less wound healing

04 January 2021

Come Back Stronger

Most of us will have scars somewhere on our body. Whether large or small, each one is a permanent reminder of the natural healing processes at work within our skin. When we’re wounded, the body forms scar tissue as quickly as possible to cut the chance of infection, reduce pain and prevent too much fluid being lost. Doctors can use soft sheets of gel, known as hydrogels, to stop wounds from drying out and help them heal faster, but this speed can often lead to scarring. Researchers have now developed a new type of hydrogel that integrates into a wound and triggers a healing immune response, leaving strong, healthy, unscarred skin. This healed skin, shown here, has many of the features of regular skin, including hair follicles (highlighted in green). Although they’re still at an early stage, these new hydrogels could be a helping hand for healing one day.

Written by Kat Arney

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