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Synthetic skin to help wounds heal faster

Synthetic skin to help wounds heal faster
Photo: Synthetic skin to help wounds heal faster
Australian scientists are developing a synthetic skin which potentially would instruct the body how to repair itself.

Burns and wounds could heal much faster and more effectively with the use of a synthetic skin created by Australian scientists.

"Its potential to benefit the sick and injured, from cardiac and cancer patients to accident victims, from burns victims to wounded children, is incalculable," says Professor Tony Weiss.

The University of Sydney biochemist and his team have received a Wellcome Trust $1 million grant to fast-track the technology to clinical trials.

The team has created a substance which mimics tropoelastin, the body's natural elastic protein.

The protein allows the body to repair elastic tissues in the skin, artery, bladder and lung.
The synthetic skin, in the form of a small piece of mesh placed on a wound, would "instruct" the body how to repair and accelerate the healing.

"It could reduce the need for hospital stays and for skin grafts," Prof Weiss said.

"Tropoelastin is a building block of human biology and the more we learn about how it assembles then the greater the range of applications we can achieve.

"We are replicating human tissue and its behaviour by making it in the laboratory and not by extracting it from a living organism."

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