Regenerative medicine is a groundbreaking field of research that involves harnessing the body’s natural processes to revert damaged or old tissue back to its prime. In normal, healthy individuals, the body usually heals injuries through the process of tissue repair, which is a patchwork attempt to regain function, often resulting in scar tissue and fibrosis. In contrast, regenerative medicine targets the holy grail of wound healing – complete tissue regeneration. This restorative process is often unachievable without external aid, presenting an open challenge for tissue engineers. However, even natural tissue repair mechanisms can become faulty. For example, for the year 2015, Global Industry Analysts, Inc. reports a staggering 13.4 million individuals globally who suffer from chronic diabetic ulcers. These patients are in need of a solution to treat their non-healing cutaneous wounds.
The Segura Laboratory aims to promote tissue regeneration using hydrogel scaffolds in vivo. In the case of open skin wounds, our biomaterial is applied directly to the wound bed to encourage cell migration and proliferation, revascularization, and even hair follicle regeneration in mice. The overall effect is faster wound healing with regenerative features. We are also exploring the use of our hydrogels as a treatment for aging skin to promote collagen deposition and overall skin rejuvenation.