[LISTEN] Experts eager to try and improve the rate at which wounds can heal

Scientists at the University of Bristol are trying to find ways to improve the rate at which wounds or injured tissues can heal themselves by grafting in in cells.

Naked Scientist Chris Smith explains how scientists have taken stem cells and mixed them in a solution of a kind of special detergent with a molecule in the body called thrombin which normally clots the blood - a process that is important because it stitches wounds together and provides a framework for the repair of tissue.

He says what they are effectively doing is endowing these stem cells with an enhanced ability to repair tissue locally.

So you end up with these cells that have got these thrombin molecules sticking all over them a bit like a spikey meatball. They then put those into the wound site and the thrombi enzyme grabs the other molecule called fibrinogen and it breaks it down into a sticky meshwork called fibroin and this stitches the wound together.

Chris Smith, Naked Scientist

They have done some initial experiments on zebrafish. It seems to work incredibly well.

Chris Smith, Naked Scientist

It suggests that we are moving now towards an era where we are able to take some stem cells from an individual and the go into an injured part of the body - it might be joint with arthritis and you want to regrow cartilage in that particular joint, it might be breach in the skin where you have had an operation or accident.

Chris Smith, Naked Scientist

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