Injuries to the skin that fail to heal properly within three months affect hundreds of millions of people around the world and cost the Australian economy $2.6 billion a year.
When skin is wounded, the first priority is to quickly close the wound to reduce risk of infection. However, before this can be done, a scaffold needs to be set up to support the new skin, which is a slow process.
Researchers at Adelaide’s Centre for Cancer Biology have discovered a new approach to speed up this process, finding that inhibiting a protein called 14-3-3ζ can accelerate healing.
Senior author Dr Michael Samuel, says 14-3-3ζ is present at very high levels in chronic non-healing wounds like, for example, diabetic wounds, suggesting that this may be the reason chronic wounds heal so slowly.
“The next step of our research is to find out whether inhibiting 14-3-3ζ can be used to help people with chronic non-healing wounds to heal their wounds quickly,” he says.
This research is a great example of how the Centre for Cancer Biology’s specialist knowledge in basic cell biology has important applications across a broad range of medical settings. The work will ultimately help those suffering from chronic wounds and help to improve their quality of life.
Read more here: University of South Australia.