Researchers at Uppsala University and SLU in Sweden have discovered a new technology to topically accelerate wound healing.
The approach uses lactic acid bacteria as vectors to generate and deliver a human chemokine called CXCL12 in the wounds.
Existing methods for wound care include mechanical debridement, dressings, and significant amounts of antibiotics to prevent or treat the infection. The researchers believe that a treatment that could speed up wound healing will have a significant impact.
The research team also aimed to provide an alternative for existing protein-based biological drug candidates that are considered to be expensive.
They used the new technology to raise CXCL12 levels by continuous and direct delivery to the wound surface for a particular duration.
In turn, the bioavailability of CXCL12 synergistically enhanced within the wound as the lactic acid produced by bacteria resulted in a slight pH drop that inhibits degradation.
Uppsala University Integrative Physiology division Medical Cell Biology department professor Mia Phillipson said: “The chemokine, CXCL12, is endogenously upregulated in injured tissue and, by increasing the levels further, more immune cells are recruited and are more specialised to heal the wound, which accelerates the whole process.”
When tested in healthy mice, two diabetes models, one peripheral ischemia model, and a model with human skin biopsies, the technology was found to have increased the composition of immune cells in the wounds.
Phillipson added: “We have developed a drug candidate, a next-generation biologic medical product, and are now publishing the fantastic results from the preclinical part where wound healing was strongly accelerated in mice.
“We have a technology that works and now understand the mechanism behind it – how it accelerates wound healing.”