The healing powers of humans are amazing, some that we could not replicate. However, Dr. Ben Almquest and his team of scientists at the Imperial College in London are thinking of ways to accelerate the process.
Boosting the healing rate of the body will have multiple advantages, the primary being the ability to treat critical wounds very quickly so that they can save more lives.
How TrAPs Improves On the Idea of Human Healing
A team of doctors has developed a special healing material that can interact with the healing tissues in the human body, helping it heal better and faster.
The doctors aim to incorporate this material, which is known as Traction force-Activated Payloads (TrAPs), into the conventional materials that are used to help with healing.
When you are in a state where extensive healing is needed, you need all the help that can get the healing process going keep it in that accelerated rate. TrAPs can essentially help in this process by suiting itself to your body’s needs.
Before explaining how it works, let’s look at how the human body heals a wound.
Whenever your body experiences a wound, a thin layer of collagen is formed on top of the wound. Then cells travel through this thin layer of collagen, pulling a thin thread of healing proteins with them. these healing proteins then activate the healing and regeneration of cells.
The researchers wanted to mimic this action with their invention. So they coiled or folded DNA elements in a particular way that proteins are attached throughout the folds
These folded DNA segments are known as Aptamers. A customizable handle is attached to one side of the DNA string and the other end is attached to the collagen layer.
When the cells move through the collagen layer atop the skin, they pull on the TrAPs, unfolding the aptamers and revealing a long string of proteins that go over the wound. The process thus promotes cell regeneration in its pathway.
This leads to cell development that will soon spread to other parts of the wound.
Tailoring healing to the needs of the body, the first of its kind!
By changing the ‘handle’ that these aptamers have, the doctors can tailor aptamers to certain cell types. This means that only a particular type of cell can pull on a particular type of aptamers.
It allows the doctors to include different types of aptamers that respond to different cell requirements, enabling the TrAPs to pull different type of proteins at different stages of wound repair.
This prompts the cells to repair faster and more efficiently as there will be no deficiency.
"Using cell movement to activate healing is found in creatures ranging from sea sponges to humans. Our approach mimics them and actively works with the different varieties of cells that arrive in our damaged tissue over time to promote healing" said Dr. Almquist.
Scientists believe that this new healing approach can be used in different types of injuries ranging from fractured bones, damaged nerves and also scar tissue after heart attacks.
TrAPs are completely human-made and are also easy to recreate, allowing scientists to conduct new studies in laboratories for diseases, stem cells, and tissue development.
The findings of this research are published in Advanced Materials.