Revolutionizing Wound Healing With Individualized Approach
Plastic surgeon Dr. Henry C. Hsia believes he may have a way to address the urgent need for better methods for healing large wounds, such as those experienced by people who undergo extensive cancer surgery.
"With what we know today, closure of these wounds can only be accomplished after much pain, scarring and disfigurement," said Dr. Hsia, assistant professor of surgery at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. "The creation of an optimal substitute for human skin remains an unfulfilled objective."
Wound healing can vary significantly, yet there is little information on individual differences in cellular responses that account for this variation.
A $60,000 grant from the Feldstein Medical Foundation will enable Dr. Hsia to conduct a pilot study that may take us one step closer to addressing this question.
"Our foundation supports junior researchers with promising ideas who are not yet at the point where they can apply for NIH funding," said Daniel Feldstein, treasurer of the Feldstein Medical Foundation. "We felt Dr. Hsia's project met this standard and may lead to something significant."
In preliminary studies, Dr. Hsia identified fibronectin as a protein that alters cells found in human wounds. With tissue taken from wound patients themselves, he will use a 3D culturing technique to test how these cells respond differently to this protein. He will then correlate this cellular response with wound healing in different individuals.
Dr. Hsia hopes his findings bring us closer to the day when patients can be treated with personalized wound healing regimens, which address cellular differences in healing capabilities. This ideal wound treatment would promote regenerative healing by stimulating the patient's own tissue to heal with minimal scar tissue and full functioning of hair follicles, sweat glands and pigment cells.
"It is my hope that the information we get from these studies will help us develop fully replicative skin substitutes that revolutionize the care of patients suffering from difficult wounds," he said.