If you think of a pen, you probably imagine it as a tool for drawing, writing or perhaps erasing mistakes. What if I told you that there is a pen that not only "erases" wounds, but regenerates them directly on the field? Yes, you read right. I'm talking about the PAINT system, a regenerative pen. A device that could give a decisive turn to the way of treating wounds.
A brushstroke of science
The name PAINT is an acronym for "Portable bioActive INk for Tissue healing", and was developed by a group of scientists from Nanjing University, China.
This tool, which looks like something out of a science fiction novel, consists of a sort of 3D pen that contains a sodium alginate gel and particles called extracellular vesicles (EVs).
How the Regenerative Healing Pen works
These vesicles, naturally produced by white blood cells, play a crucial role in the reduction of inflammation and in the formation of new blood vessels at sites of injury. The gel and EVs mix at the regenerative pen tip to form a viscous ink that can be "drawn" onto wounds of any shape or size.
In tests conducted on human skin cells, applying this ink triggered a stage in the healing process where new blood vessels are formed and inflammatory substances are reduced. But it didn't end there.
The regenerative power of PAINT
After trials on epithelial cells, the tests focused on mice. There, the PAINT system was also effective in promoting the production of collagen fibers. In one group of treated animals, large wounds were almost completely healed after 12 days, while wounds in an untreated control group were much further behind in the process of healing in the same amount of time.
The results of this groundbreaking research have been published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, and I'll link them here.
When are human tests?