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SPECIALITY



        Scientists uncover how


        a molecule improves



        appearance of surgery scars




        Researchers find clues about how molecule improves appearance of scars




































                In a new study, Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC scientists discovered that the alphaCT1 molecule may help repair
                the skin’s collagen matrix. Microscopic imaging of 29-day scar biopsies from the same patient reveals the molecule’s effects
                on collagen organization. Collagen bundles in the untreated scar, right, are more aligned compared to the alphaCT1-treated
                tissue’s collagen, which is more randomly arranged in swirls that resemble unwounded skin. (Gourdie Lab / Virginia Tech)



              urgical scars treated          The study, to be published in the   I clinical study. Each volunteer
              with a molecule called         August issue of the Federation      had 5-milimeter punches of skin
        SalphaCT1 showed a long-             of American Societies for           biopsied from each of their inner
        term improvement in appearance       Experimental Biology (FASEB)        biceps. One arm’s wound was
        when compared to control scars,      Journal, describes how the drug     treated with the alphaCT1 molecule
        according to multicenter, controlled   influences the behavior of collagen-  in a gel, and the other received
        Phase II clinical trials -- a finding   producing cells called fibroblasts.  a non-medicated control gel.
        that could help surgeons improve                                         The wounds healed for 29 days,
        patient outcomes.                    The findings reveal a previously    at which point the scars were
                                             unreported feature of scar          photographed and biopsied again.
        Now, a public-private research team   formation, and could help advance
        led by Rob Gourdie, professor and    wound healing treatments for        Under the microscope, the
        director of the Center for Vascular   patients undergoing surgical       untreated scars’ collagen -- a
        and Heart Research at the Fralin     procedures.                         protein produced by cells called
        Biomedical Research Institute at                                         fibroblasts -- formed parallel strips,
        VTC, has revealed clues about        The researchers analyzed scars
        why and how it improves the          from 49 healthy volunteers in a
        appearance of scars.                 randomized, double-blind Phase                                10





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