MATERIALS are widely used to help heal wounds: Collagen sponges help treat burns and pressure sores, and scaffold-like implants are used to repair bones.
However, the process of tissue repair changes over time, so scientists are developing biomaterials that interact with tissues as healing takes place.
Now, Dr Ben Almquist and his team at Imperial College London have created a new molecule that could change the way traditional materials work with the body. Known as traction force-activated payloads (TrAPs), their method lets materials talk to the body’s natural repair systems to drive healing.
The researchers say incorporating TrAPs into existing medical materials could revolutionise the way injuries are treated.
Dr Almquist, from Imperial’s Department of Bioengineering, said: “Our technology could help launch a new generation of materials that actively work with tissues to drive healing.”
The findings are published recently in Advanced Materials.