PRESS-NEWS.org - Press Release Distribution
FREE PRESS RELEASES DISTRIBUTION

Virginia Tech scientists uncover how a molecule improves appearance of surgery scars

Researchers find clues about how molecule improves appearance of scars

Virginia Tech scientists uncover how a molecule improves appearance of surgery scars
2021-07-20
(Press-News.org) Surgical scars treated with a molecule called alphaCT1 showed a long-term improvement in appearance when compared to control scars, according to multicenter, controlled Phase II clinical trials - a finding that could help surgeons improve patient outcomes.

Now, a public-private research team led by Rob Gourdie, professor and director of the Center for Vascular and Heart Research at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC, has revealed clues about why and how it improves the appearance of scars.

The study, to be published in the August issue of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) Journal, describes how the drug influences the behavior of collagen-producing cells called fibroblasts.

The findings reveal a previously unreported feature of scar formation, and could help advance wound healing treatments for patients undergoing surgical procedures.

The researchers analyzed scars from 49 healthy volunteers in a randomized, double-blind Phase I clinical study. Each volunteer had 5-milimeter punches of skin biopsied from each of their inner biceps. One arm's wound was treated with the alphaCT1 molecule in a gel, and the other received a non-medicated control gel. The wounds healed for 29 days, at which point the scars were photographed and biopsied again.

Under the microscope, the untreated scars' collagen - a protein produced by cells called fibroblasts - formed parallel strips, which makes the tissue less pliable. By contrast, scars that were applied with the drug had a collagen matrix resembling unwounded skin. Related experiments were repeated using guinea pig and rat models and yielded similar results.

The researchers also analyzed human skin cells cultured in a dish to watch how the drug influenced cellular activity in real-time. They discovered that the presence of the molecule caused fibroblasts to stretch out like a rubber band, then snap back into shape and change direction.

"We call it the fibroblast dance," said Gourdie, who is also the Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund Eminent Scholar in Heart Reparative Medicine Research and a professor of biomedical engineering and mechanics in Virginia Tech's College of Engineering.

This unusual fibroblast behavior in the treated tissue appears to have a positive effect on scar formation, Gourdie says. "In unwounded skin, the collagen is enmeshed, allowing the tissue to move and stretch in all directions. The fibroblasts' directional changes appear to influence how the collagen matrix forms during scarring," Gourdie said.

More than 300 million surgical procedures are performed in the United States each year - often resulting in noticeable scarring on patients. Methods to reduce scarring after operations are sought after.

"This is some of the most exciting basic science research in wound healing I've seen in a long time," said Kurtis Moyer, chief of plastic and reconstructive surgery for Carilion Clinic and a professor of surgery at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. Moyer was not involved in the study, but has collaborated with the Gourdie lab on wound healing research for 20 years.

"This shows real promise and could potentially revolutionize what we do in plastic surgery," Moyer said.

AlphaCT1 influences wound healing by temporarily interrupting cell signaling functions of connexin 43, a gap junction channel protein. Gourdie and his lab invented the molecule and discovered its useful effects on wound healing with his former postdoctoral associate, Gautam Ghatnekar, a decade ago. Together they formed a biopharmaceutical company, FirstString Research Inc., to bring alphaCT1 to market.

The molecule is currently being evaluated in Phase III clinical testing in bilateral breast surgery patients.

"These findings validate that the drug's mechanism is playing out as we thought it would," said Ghatnekar, FirstString's president and chief executive officer.

The company has closed $55 million in Series B, C, and D Funding since 2018, and is evaluating the drug's use in a variety of applications, including surgical wound healing, chronic wound healing, radiation therapy wound healing, and corneal tissue repair.

"We alter how the human body responds to injury by shifting the balance from healing by scarring to healing by regeneration. The medical applications for our technology are far-ranging," Ghatnekar said.

INFORMATION:

Gourdie and Ghatnekar were joined on the study by its first-author, Jade Montgomery, a former graduate student in Gourdie's lab at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute and in Virginia Tech's Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics; William Richardson, an assistant professor of bioengineering at Clemson University; Spencer Marsh, a postdoctoral associate in Gourdie's lab; Matthew Rhett, a staff scientist at the Medical University of South Carolina at the time of the study; Francis Bustos, a former medical student; Katherine Degen, a former graduate student in Gourdie's lab at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute and in the Virginia Tech - Wake Forest School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences; Christina Grek, senior director of research and development at FirstString; Jane Jourdan, Gourdie's lab manager; and Jeffrey Holmes, dean of engineering at the University of Alabama.


[Attachments] See images for this press release:
Virginia Tech scientists uncover how a molecule improves appearance of surgery scars

ELSE PRESS RELEASES FROM THIS DATE:

A foot tumor and two tail fractures complicated the life of this hadrosaur

2021-07-20
When it was discovered in the 1980s in Argentina, this hadrosaur was diagnosed with a fractured foot. However, a new analysis now shows that this ornithopod commonly known as the duck-billed dinosaur actually had a tumour some 70 million years ago, as well as two painful fractures in the vertebrae of its tail, despite which, it managed to survive for some time. This dinosaur, called Bonapartesaurus rionegrensis, was discovered in Argentinean Patagonia in the 1980s, and the first analyses of its fossils indicated an ailment of the foot, possibly a fracture, as the Argentinean palaeontologist Jaime Powell pointed out at the time. The study of this animal then came to a standstill until 2016, when Powell invited another team of scientists to resume ...

Review evaluates the evidence for an intensifying Indian Ocean water cycle

Review evaluates the evidence for an intensifying Indian Ocean water cycle
2021-07-20
The Indian Ocean has been warming much more than other ocean basins over the last 50-60 years. While temperature changes basin-wide can be unequivocally attributed to human-induced climate change, it is difficult to assess whether contemporary heat and freshwater changes in the Indian Ocean since 1980 represent an anthropogenically-forced transformation of the hydrological cycle. What complicates the assessment is factoring in natural variations, regional-scale trends, a short observational record, climate model uncertainties, and the ocean basin's complex circulation. A ...

Spinal fluid biomarkers detect neurodegeneration, Alzheimer's disease in living patients

2021-07-20
PHILADELPHIA--Alzheimer's disease and related diseases can still only be confirmed in deceased patients' brains via autopsy. Even so, the development of biomarkers can give patients and their families answers during life: Alzheimer's disease can be accurately detected via peptides and proteins in a patient's cerebrospinal fluids (CSF), which can be collected through a lumbar puncture and tested while the patient is alive. In 2018, a new framework suggested combining three Alzheimer's disease biomarkers in CSF - pathologic amyloid plaques (A), tangles (T), and neurodegeneration (N), collectively called ATN. According to recent research from the Perelman School ...

SARS-CoV-2 spike mutation L452R evades human immune response and enhances infectivity

SARS-CoV-2 spike mutation L452R evades human immune response and enhances infectivity
2021-07-20
An international team of researchers led by Kumamoto and Tokyo Universities (Japan) have shown that the L452R mutation of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, which is common to two mutant strains (Epsilon and Delta), is involved in cellular immunity evasion via the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) A24, and enhances viral infectivity. HLA-A24 is one of the most prominent HLA-class I alleles, especially in East/Southeast Asian populations, which might make them particularly vulnerable to coronavirus variants with this mutation. The ongoing novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19) pandemic has, as of June 2021, infected over 150 million and killed over 3.5 million people worldwide. Vaccination drives ...

The origin of bifurcated current sheets explained

The origin of bifurcated current sheets explained
2021-07-20
A Korean research team has identified the origin of bifurcated current sheets, considered one of the most unsolved mysteries in the Earth's magnetosphere and in magnetized plasma physics. A POSTECH joint research team led by Professor Gunsu S. Yun of the Department of Physics and Division of Advanced Nuclear Engineering and Dr. Young Dae Yoon from the Pohang Accelerator Laboratory has theoretically established the process of collisionless equilibration of disequilibrated plasma current sheets. In addition, by comparing this with particle simulations and satellite data from NASA, the origin of the bifurcated ...

Synthesis of new red phosphors with a smart material as a host material

Synthesis of new red phosphors with a smart material as a host material
2021-07-20
Overview: Professor Hiromi Nakano of Toyohashi University of Technology used a material with a unique periodical structure (smart material: Li-M-Ti-O [M = Nb or Ta]) as a host material to synthesize new Mn4+-activated phosphors that exhibit red light emissions at 685 nm when excited at 493 nm. Because the valence of the Mn ions in the material changes from Mn4+ to Mn3+ according to the sintering temperature, composition, and crystal structure, there is a difference in the photoluminescence intensity of the phosphors. XRD, TEM, and XANES were used to clarify the relationship between the photoluminescence intensity and the sintering temperature, ...

Tree-ring records reveal Asian monsoon variability

2021-07-20
Chinese researchers along with international colleagues recently reported a 6,700-year-long, precisely dated and well-calibrated tree-ring stable isotope chronology from the Northeastern Tibetan Plateau. It reveals full-frequency precipitation variability in the Asian Summer Monsoon (ASM) from interannual to multimillennial timescales with a long-term decreasing trend and several abrupt climate change events. The international research team comprised 20 scientists from research groups based in China, Norway, Germany, United Kingdom, USA, Sweden, Canada, and Switzerland ...

No IgA leads to intestinal inflammation in mice

No IgA leads to intestinal inflammation in mice
2021-07-20
Tokyo, Japan - While researchers have known for years that immunoglobulin A (IgA) is important for gut health, it has remained unclear exactly what role it plays in preventing infection and disease. But now, researchers from Japan have found that eliminating IgA disrupts the balance of the intestinal ecosystem, making it susceptible to disease. In a study published online in May in Gut, researchers from Tokyo Medical and Dental University (TMDU) have revealed that IgA deficiency results in substantial inflammation of the ileum, a specific part of the small intestine. IgA is present in large quantities in the small intestine, where it helps protect the body against microorganisms that could potentially cross the lining of the gut to cause ...

Farm consolidation has negative effect on wild pollinators

Farm consolidation has negative effect on wild pollinators
2021-07-20
A new study by a team of researchers has found that the consolidation of traditional smallholder farms in China has a devastating effect on the biodiversity of wild pollinators in the area. Pollinators play an essential role when it comes to supporting global food production. However, wild pollinators are on the decline for several reasons, including the loss of floral resources and nesting sites. This loss of biodiversity could have far-reaching consequences for global food production in future. "Biodiversity is essential for all life, with pollinators being one of the most important groups," says Dr Yi Zou from Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool ...

Removal of barred owls slows decline of iconic spotted owls in Pacific Northwest, study finds

2021-07-20
CORVALLIS, Ore. - A 17-year study in Oregon, Washington and California found that removal of invasive barred owls arrested the population decline of the northern spotted owl, a native species threatened by invading barred owls and the loss of old-forest habitats. The conservation and management of northern spotted owls became one of the largest and most visible wildlife conservation issues in United States history after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the spotted owl as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 1990 because of rapid declines in the owl's old-forest habitats. Four years later, the Northwest Forest Plan was adopted and reduced the rate of logging of old-growth forests on federal lands. Despite more ...

LAST 30 PRESS RELEASES:

Scientists model 'true prevalence' of COVID-19 throughout pandemic

New breakthrough to help immune systems in the fight against cancer

Through the thin-film glass, researchers spot a new liquid phase

Administering opioids to pregnant mice alters behavior and gene expression in offspring

Brain's 'memory center' needed to recognize image sequences but not single sights

Safety of second dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines after first-dose allergic reactions

Changes in disparities in access to care, health after Medicare eligibility

Use of high-risk medications among lonely older adults

65+ and lonely? Don't talk to your doctor about another prescription

Exosome formulation developed to deliver antibodies for choroidal neovascularization therapy

Second COVID-19 mRNA vaccine dose found safe following allergic reactions to first dose

Plant root-associated bacteria preferentially colonize their native host-plant roots

Rare inherited variants in previously unsuspected genes may confer significant risk for autism

International experts call for a unified public health response to NAFLD and NASH epidemic

International collaboration of scientists rewrite the rulebook of flowering plant genetics

Improving air quality reduces dementia risk, multiple studies suggest

Misplaced trust: When trust in science fosters pseudoscience

Two types of blood pressure meds prevent heart events equally, but side effects differ

New statement provides path to include ethnicity, ancestry, race in genomic research

Among effective antihypertensive drugs, less popular choice is slightly safer

Juicy past of favorite Okinawan fruit revealed

Anticipate a resurgence of respiratory viruses in young children

Anxiety, depression, burnout rising as college students prepare to return to campus

Goal-setting and positive parent-child relationships reduce risk of youth vaping

New research identifies cancer types with little survival improvements in adolescents and young adul

Oncotarget: Replication-stress sensitivity in breast cancer cells

Oncotarget: TERT and its binding protein: overexpression of GABPA/B in gliomas

Development of a novel technology to check body temperature with smartphone camera

The mechanics of puncture finally explained

Extreme heat, dry summers main cause of tree death in Colorado's subalpine forests

[Press-News.org] Virginia Tech scientists uncover how a molecule improves appearance of surgery scars
Researchers find clues about how molecule improves appearance of scars