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Drug shown to heal skin without scarring

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Scars play an important role in wound-healing, limiting infection and bleeding, but they do not function as well as normal skin. A lack of sweat glands and the inflexibility of scar tissue make it harder for scarred areas to move and adapt to changes in temperature. Now, Shamik Mascharak, an MD-PhD student, and colleagues at Stanford University have discovered a way to produce scar-free healing.

Applying verteporfin, an FDA-approved drug for eye disease, to wounds in mice, the researchers were able to induce healing without scarring. The healed area had hair follicles and sweat glands, and it was just as strong as normal skin.

This discovery is the culmination of experiments that unraveled the molecular and physical pathways involved in scarring, and is a promising step towards more effective ways of treating wounds and injuries to other tissues.

Michael Longaker, the Deane P. and Louise Mitchell Professor in the School of Medicine and a faculty affiliate of the Wu Tsai Human Performance Alliance at Stanford, and Geoffrey Gurtner, MD, the Johnson & Johnson Distinguished Professor in Surgery II, are the senior authors.

Read the full press release.

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