The researchers were able to reduce the scars by blocking part of the healing process. The animal study could make a difference for burns and other trauma patients.
Professor Kiarash Khosrotehrani The University of Queensland said the scars were reduced by targeting the gene that instructs stem cells to form them.
The body's natural response to trauma is to create many blood vessels to carry oxygen and nutrients to the wound to repair itKiarash Khosrotehrani, University of Queensland
How scars form (and stop)
When the wound has closed, many of the blood vessels created by the body to respond to the emergence of the wound become fibroblasts. These produce collagens which form the hard materials found in scars.
"We found," Khosrotehrani says, "that vascular stem cells determine whether a blood vessel remains or is transformed into scarring fibroblasts."
The experimental dermatology team then identified the molecular mechanism for deactivating the process by targeting a specific gene involved in scar formation known as SOX9.
The team used technology siRNA or "short interfering RNA" to block SOX9 RNA expression and this reduced scarring in animals.
The potential applications of the discovery
After the success of the animal research phase (here the official news) serves the passage on man. If the results are confirmed, their potential application would have evident benefits for many patients, from those who have undergone knee or hip surgery, to melanomas removed, passing through burns.
The classic situation where there are a lot of scars is that of burns. There the wound healed but large scars remain. Now that we have found the molecular drivers of the scars we can think of a treatment.Kiarash Khosrotehrani
Pending further evidence, it must be said, the Queensland team believes this application will not be difficult to apply to human patients.