Eduardo Silva, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at University of California, Davis, has been granted a provisional patent on a stem cell medium to speed wound healing. Combined with the appropriate delivery system, the medium reduces infection by rapidly healing skin injuries, including burns and areas from which healthy skin has been taken for grafting.
Human mesenchymal stem cells (derived from bone marrow, adipose tissue, or other sources) are cultured in a medium that can be applied directly to the affected area. Proteins within the medium, however, can cause it to break down before it has had full effect. To make it “stick” to the wound, the medium is placed into a hydrogel, biodegradable polymer, or other material compatible with the conditions in which it will be used.
The stem cells help heal wounds by incorporating themselves directly in tissues and by secreting a wide array of signaling proteins and growth factors that can recruit other cell types to become part of tissue healing and regeneration.