Nanotherapy for Faster Wound Healing

Wound healing is a complex process that requires migration of a variety of unique cell types from the wound margin to the wound zone. Nanotherapy is the latest wound care treatment in the spotlight that has been proved to expedite the wound healing process. A research team from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, Bronx, NY recently tested experimental nanoparticle therapy on mice and found that the therapy reduced the time taken to heal skin wounds by half, compared to untreated wounds. The researchers claim that it is possible to use this therapy to speed up the healing of all sorts of wounds such as everyday cuts and burns, surgical incisions and chronic skin ulcers seen in elderly people and people having diabetes.

This 2015 study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology is actually built on a previous work in which the team found an enzyme called fidgetin-like 2 (FL2) that slows down skin cells as they migrate towards a wound to heal it. While pursuing the idea of reducing levels of FL2 to make the healing process faster, they developed a drug that blocks the gene which codes for FL2, loaded it into tiny nanoparticle capsules and applied them to the skin wounds on mice during the latest study. It was found that those skin wounds healed faster with the help of nanoparticles that contain FL2-inhibitor when compared to untreated wounds. In the next stage, the researchers found suppressing FL2 activity in human cells in tissue culture caused the cells to move faster than usual.

Meanwhile, another team member was developing therapy that suppresses FL2 with the help of silencing RNA molecules (siRNAs). However, there was an issue that siRNAs won’t be taken up by the cells, especially within a living organism and they will be quickly degraded if not put into some kind of delivery vehicle. The researchers went on developing nanoparticles that protect siRNAs and prevent them from degradation while carrying them to the target. In the final stage, the combined team loaded FL2-silencing siRNAs into protective nanoparticles and applied them to the wounds on mice to see faster wound healing rate like in the previous case with drug.

Earlier studies had also proved the effectiveness of nanotherapy to expedite wound healing, especially the use of silver nanoparticles. A 2013 study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences investigated the use of silver nanoparticle-based dressing for wound healing. It was found that the active silver nanoparticles greatly reduce mitochondrial activity and thereby speed up wound healing. A 2014 investigation on biologically synthesized silver nanoparticles for wound healing revealed that silver nanoparticles are highly effective in wound healing.

Though nanotherapy is seen to be effective, more investigation is needed to examine their real behavior on human skin. Even so, we can expect nanotherapy as an emerging trend in wound care treatment very soon.