WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF
Many people have scar tissue, and everyone, one day gets wrinkles, now both of those human frailties could be a thing of the past.
There are a few of reasons that scar tissue looks different than regular skin – it lacks hair follicles and it has no fat cells, and now a team of researchers from the University of Pennsylvania (UP) and the University of California (UC) have succeeded in creating a combined solution that addresses both issues. And, as a result they’ve been able to get wounds to heal perfectly with regenerated skin – and as an added bonus, found a way to reverse wrinkles and advance anti-ageing research. Win win!
Myofibroblasts are the most common type of cell found in healing wounds, and they’re associated with scar formation. Led by Dr. George Cotsarelis of UP, the research team was able to get Myofibroblasts to transform into a different type of cell known as adipocytes – these are the fat cells that are present in normal skin, but absent in scars.
In the meantime scientists already knew which growth factors were necessary to grow hair follicles in the skin and they managed to use this information to induce follicles to grow at wound sites on mice, so what they had were two separate solutions – two sides of the same coin, but what they didn’t know was how to combine the two techniques together.
However, what the researchers recently discovered was that when those follicles form they release a factor called Bone Morphogenetic Protein (BMP), and it in turn signals the surrounding myofibroblasts to convert into adipocytes. It was the breakthrough they needed and it completed the coin.
“The secret is to regenerate hair follicles first,” summarized Cotsarelis, “after that, the fat will regenerate in response to the signals from those follicles.”
Now, hot on the heels of other scar reversing technologies, such as the stem cell based SkinGun from RenovaCare, it looks like scars might finally have met their match.