January 26, 2011
Growth-Factor-Containing Nanoparticles Accelerate Healing Of Chronic Wounds
Mass. General team develops novel platform to deliver growth factors deep within injured tissue
Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators have developed a novel system for delivery of growth factors to chronic wounds such as pressure sores and diabetic foot ulcers. In their work published in the Jan. 18 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team from the MGH Center for Engineering in Medicine (CEM) reports fabricating nanospheres containing keratinocyte growth factor (KGF), a protein known to play an important role in wound healing, fused with elastin-like peptides. When suspended in a fibrin gel, these nanoparticles improved the healing of deep skin wounds in diabetic mice.
The authors describe developing a fusion protein from recombinant KGF and elastin-like-peptides, which are major constituents of skin and other connective tissues. Laboratory experiments showed that the fusion protein retained the wound-healing properties of both elastin and KGF and that it rapidly and efficiently self-assembled into nanoparticles in response to a simple increase in temperature. When applied to deep skin wounds in genetically diabetic mice, the nanoparticles accelerated healing by stimulating the formation of both surface epithelial tissue and thick fibrous connective tissue.
"This technology has great potential because the fusion protein can be easily manufactured at a relatively low cost, is easy to administer and does not disappear as readily as the growth factor alone," explains Martin Yarmush, MD, PhD, director of the MGH Center for Engineering in Medicine and senior author of the study. "The technology also provides a platform for delivery of any growth factor or combination of factors. One could imagine administering a mixture of nanoparticles, each with a different factor, or a single set of nanoparticles with a mixture of fusion proteins on each."
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