Breakthrough drug-eluting patch stops scar growth and reduces scar tissues

Inventors are holding the microneedle patch in their hands (from left to right: David Chenloong Yeo, Chenjie Xu, Yuejun Kang, and Peng Xue).

Scars—in particular keloid scars that result from overgrowth of skin tissue after injuries or surgeries—are unsightly and can even lead to disfigurement and psychological problems of affected patients. Individuals with darker pigmentation—in particular people with African, Hispanic or South-Asian genetic background—are more likely to develop this skin tissue disorder. Current therapy options, including surgery and injections of corticosteroids into scar tissues, are often ineffective, require clinical supervision and can be costly.

A new invention by researchers from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore (reported in the current issue of Technology) provides a simple, affordable and—most importantly—highly effective way for to self-treat keloid . The team of scientists and engineers from NTU's School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, in collaboration with clinicians from Singapore's National Skin Centre, have developed a special patch made from polymers fabricated into microneedles, which are loaded with the US food and drug administration (FDA)-approved scar-reducing drug, 5-fluorouracil. Self-administered by patients, the microneedles attach the patch to and allow sustained drug-release (one patch per night). The drug as well as the physical contact of the microneedles with the scar tissue contributes to the efficacy of the device, leading to the cessation of scar tissue growth and a considerable reduction of keloids as demonstrated in laboratory cultures and experiments with animals.

"Most patients seek treatment due to disfigurement and/or pain or itch of scars," says Assistant Professor Xu Chenjie from NTU who leads the study. "We wanted to develop a simple, convenient, and cost-effective device able to inhibit keloid growth in and reduce the size of disfiguring scars," adds Yuejun Kang, another key investigator in the study from NTU.

"Self-administered treatment for keloid scars can reduce the economic burden on the healthcare system and provide a treatment option for patients who have limited access to medical care," comments Professor Jeffrey Karp from Brigham and Women's Hospital at Harvard Medical School, US, an expert on who was not involved in this study.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Lasers deemed highly effective treatment for excessive scars

Nov 27, 2013

Current laser therapy approaches are effective for treating excessive scars resulting from abnormal wound healing, concludes a special topic paper in the December issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official medica ...

Scientists discover possible treatment to reduce scarring

Jul 06, 2012

Whether from surgery or battle wounds, ugly scars can affect body and mind. Now a new research report appearing online in the FASEB Journal offers a new strategy to reduce or eliminate scars on the skin. Specifically, scient ...

Recommended for you

Growing a blood vessel in a week

16 hours ago

The technology for creating new tissues from stem cells has taken a giant leap forward. Three tablespoons of blood are all that is needed to grow a brand new blood vessel in just seven days. This is shown ...

Testing time for stem cells

19 hours ago

DefiniGEN is one of the first commercial opportunities to arise from Cambridge's expertise in stem cell research. Here, we look at some of the fundamental research that enables it to supply liver and pancreatic ...

Team finds key signaling pathway in cause of preeclampsia

Oct 23, 2014

A team of researchers led by a Wayne State University School of Medicine associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology has published findings that provide novel insight into the cause of preeclampsia, the leading cause ...

Rapid test to diagnose severe sepsis

Oct 23, 2014

A new test, developed by University of British Columbia researchers, could help physicians predict within an hour if a patient will develop severe sepsis so they can begin treatment immediately.

User comments