Blood plasma could help regenerate wounds and burns
UN/DICYT A blood plasma gel produced by UNal researchers could help the scarring process of deep wounds and sores produced from too much time lying down or sitting on a wheel chair. UNal Engineering Department Professor Rubén Darío Godoy says the purpose of their work is to produce a soft scarring process (from the esthetic standpoint) and to hasten the healing process.
“Considering that a burn can take up to six months to heal, the purpose of this method is to reduce this time to two months. Serious burns, deep cuts or sores produced by too much time lying down or sitting in a wheel chair can regenerate, but when the skin rehabilitates, the holes are not filled but molded in,” said Godoy.
It would be ideal to fill them with a biomaterial to help reestablish the wound from the surface towards the inside. This is precisely the main purpose of this research project developed at UNal which used blood plasma as raw material.
“If the skin burns and produces a deep hole and heals without using drugs or medical treatment, the cells of the connective tissue cover the wound but leave a hole beneath, therefore it is necessary to fill the area with biomaterial”, said Godoy, also leader of the project.
The idea is for the biomaterial to not simply cover the wound to conceal the area. They hope fibroblasts to completely integrate to the substance produced from blood plasma and the cells to produce collagen. The latter is later replaced by fibrin (a solid polymer which comes from fibrinogen), which biodegrades, turns into waste and ends with skin regeneration.
The gel placed on wounds is the result of plasma and its protein (fibrinogen). It is frozen to 4º C (29.2º F) (cryoconcentration) and then at 37º C (98.6º F) calcium is added which is important to insolubilize the material and form a compact gel.
“When the calcium is at 37º C (98.6º F) alginic acid (an algae and bacteria based polymer) is added forming an easy to handle substance,” said Godoy.
This biomaterial when in cryoconcentration takes between 10 and 15 minutes to from, while with alginic acid it forms immediately.
With the gel already formed, cells are necessary which stick to the plasma and produce collagen and help fibroblasts stick to the skin; without them, the regeneration process would be slow.
Currently they have proven that through in vitro testing that plasma effectively helps the scarring process. They are now looking for cells to reproduce more and prolong their life cycle as they have noticed they grow for only three days then they begin to die.