A new generation of materials for treating wounds

n the new study that is the subject of our article, Dr. Almquist and his team have engineered the TrAp molecules to recreate this natural process

Written Thursday, by Emanuele Mortarotti

Welcome back to yet another update on the Dispotech, your disposable excellence blog.

New research published in Advanced Materials, the journal specialised in materials engineering, is paving the way to a new generation of materials that works actively with tissues to accelerate healing. Let’s discuss it in detail by using an article published on medicalnewstoday.com.

While the percentage of infections contracted in hospitals continues to rise at a disturbing rate, attention must also be paid to chronic wounds that never heal - those that occur in diabetes, for example - are true receptacles of bacteria in the form of biofilm.

These aggregations of bacteria are often very resistant to treatment; antimicrobial resistance increases the probability that the wounds may become easily infected. Some chronic wounds unfortunately can lead to dramatic amputations, such as with diabetic ulcers. Statistically speaking, an amputation of diabetic origin takes place every 30 seconds in the world.

New research in the medical field has made great progress and is very promising: several physicians have devised a molecule that helps exploit the human body's natural ability to heal. In scientific jargon these molecules are called TrAPs and help materials such as collagen to interact with body tissues in a more natural way.


TrAP technology and healing wounds

We have just mentioned collagen as a material often used for healing wounds. But exactly how does collagen interact with tissues? In what are known as scaffolds, the cells move towards the collagen structure, binding with it. This process causes the proteins to help the tissue regenerate.

In the new study that is the subject of our article, Dr. Almquist and his team have engineered the TrAp molecules to recreate this natural process. The scientists “catalogued” the DNA strands into aptamers, three-dimensional shapes that bind to proteins. Afterwards, they designed a sort of “handle” literally for the cells to grip. They attached the cells to this handle on one end and to the scaffold on the other.

Laboratory testing showed that the cells dragged the TrAps along as they moved through the collagen implants. Consequently, this process activated the growth of proteins, which triggered the healing process of the tissues.

The research team explained that this technique reproduces processes that already exist in nature. “Using cell movement to activate healing is a process found in a wide range of creatures, from sea sponges to human beings. Our approach imitates the animal and human ones and actively works with an interesting variety of cells that reach damaged tissues to promote healing”.


A new generation of healing materials

TrAp technology’s adaptability to different types of cells means that this technique can be applied to various types of wounds – from bone fractures to scar tissue from surgery and nerve damage.

At least in the United States – where the research was conducted – the aptamers have been approved by the FDA as drugs for treating humans. This means that TrAp technology can become available worldwide sooner than was thought. What’s more, this discovery can blaze a trail in the study of other materials able to heal the most insidious wounds.


This innovation has every potential to be a valid wound healer, orchestrating the presence of different cells and helping damaged skin tissues to heal. What do you think? Have your say by contacting Dispotech, your disposable excellence.

Emanuele Mortarotti
Author Emanuele Mortarotti


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