Technology from the sci-fi universe"Star Trek" continues to penetrate into our real life. We have already read about the medical tricorder, heard about the development of the warp engine, evaluated food printers. Now the time has come for a “skin regenerator” - a small device that can heal wounds and burns and restore the original structure of epidermal tissue. Scientists from the University of Arizona under the leadership of Kaushal Rege are just engaged in the development of such a device.
In an article published by Advanced magazineFunctional Materials researchers talk about the successful restoration of damaged tissue of the skin of animals using nanoparticles of silk and gold using laser beams. As part of an experimental test, the technology quickly healed the damaged soft tissue of the intestines of the pig, as well as the damaged area of the skin of the mouse. Scientists note that in the case of the pig’s intestines, the created scar, combining two areas of damaged tissue, turned out to be almost seven times stronger than using the conventional method of suturing wounds.
Scientists note that when using conventionalrestoration methods, for example, stitches, medical glue and staples quite often, wounds can open repeatedly, slowing down the tissue repair process. Their development promises to eliminate this problem.
“We are trying to develop a method for faster bonding of damaged tissues and faster recovery,” said Dipanjan Ghosh, co-author of the study.
From left to right: comparison of the state of the wound after using a conventional suture, medical glue and laser on day 0 and 2 after injury
When using a "healing" laser beamit needs to be focused on the wound site. In fact, the beam does not heal anything, it only triggers a reaction that leads to the rapid healing of the wound. As a bonding material, scientists use gold nanotubes placed in a matrix of silk protein, taken from silkworm cocoons. A protein called fibroin, placed on the skin, forms a bond with collagen, a protein that forms the basis of connective tissue between skin cells. When exposed to near-infrared radiation on gold nanotubes, they produce heat, which causes the silk protein to create new cellular bonds, thereby forming a strong connection between the damaged areas.
The used near-infrared laser length is about 800 nanometers. This is enough to warm up gold nanoparticles, but no skin damage is inflicted.
The developers have created two types of healing“Sealant”: one for a wet environment that does not absorb under the influence of water, the other for a dry environment that is corroded by water. The first scientists checked during the healing of pig intestinal tissue. After applying the healing substance, the researchers noted that the strength of the tissue at the healing site was seven times stronger than with conventional sutures and medical glue. According to Ghosh, the restored tissue functions in a completely normal way, as well as intact.
Then the scientists tested the healingsubstances for a dry environment, applying it to the skin of a laboratory rodent. After applying the paste to the incision and checking the wound after 2 days, the scientists noted a significantly higher healing efficiency compared to staples and medical glue. In addition, the application and launch process itself took very little time - about four minutes.
Because near infrared light mayto penetrate deep into the tissue, Gauche and his colleagues hope in the future to use the technology developed by them to restore blood vessels and nerve channels - tissues usually located deep beneath the skin, the restoration of which takes much longer than conventional tissue.
“Stitching nerves and blood vessels is generally a much more difficult task, even for very skilled surgeons,” comments Ghosh.
Scientists believe that the cost of silk-gold material will not be excessively high, and the main costs of medical centers in this case will be laser equipment.
Scientists are currently observing howLaser-activated medical sealant behaves in living rats. If the tests are successful, scientists are going to go to the pigs, and then finally to the people.
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