Wound care that adds up

A Queensland researcher is applying mathematical modelling to increase understanding of the wound healing process.

A Queensland researcher will use mathematical modeling to help uncover why some serious wounds lead to debilitating scars.

PhD researcher, Cameron Hall from Queensland University of Technology has developed a model that replicates conflicting forces that are at work when healing cells arrive at the site of a burn or cut to close the wound.

Mr Hall hopes the research will increase the understanding of the relationship between “overhealing” and hypertrophic scarring – which occurs when skin cells “try too hard” to close a wound, making the skin contract and causing pain and disfigurement.

Mr Hall’s research will build on previous investigations into the way chemical and mechanical signals interact in the process of wound healing.

“When the skin is burned or lacerated, some of the cells deep in the wound begin to act like muscle cells,” he said.

“They pull on the fibres around them in order to drag the rest of the wound closed. Importantly, these cells can change how hard they pull depending on what’s going on around them.”

“The process of cell pulling has been seen in experiments, but we need to use mathematical models in order to really understand what’s going on.”

The research may also help to explain the mystery of why pressure bandages promote healing with reduced scarring.

“We still don’t know why pressure bandages are so effective, even though we’ve been using them for decades,” said Mr Hall.

“By modelling the forces in the skin, we hope to explain the success of pressure bandages and maybe even suggest improvements to the current treatments.”

Tags: wound-healing,

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