Healing Accelerated: How Nanofiber Dressings Improve Tissue Regeneration

Healing Accelerated: How Nanofiber Dressings Improve Tissue Regeneration

Posted by Leanne Kodsman on

New research looks at the effectiveness of revolutionary "nanofiber" dressings - which make use of naturally-occurring proteins from plants and animals - to promote healing and regrow tissue.

New wound dressings, recently described in two separate research papers, seem to dramatically accelerate healing and improve tissue regeneration. What's the secret? Nanofiber dressings, which use naturally-occurring proteins found in both plants and animals.


New research looks at the effectiveness of revolutionary "nanofiber" dressings - which make use of naturally-occurring proteins from plants and animals - to promote healing and regrow tissue.

New wound dressings, recently described in two separate research papers, seem to dramatically accelerate healing and improve tissue regeneration. What's the secret? Nanofiber dressings, which use naturally-occurring proteins found in both plants and animals.

Senior author of the research, Kit Parker - Tarr Family Professor of Bioengineering and Applied Physics at SEAS - served in Afghanistan. Witnessing battle wounds (and the healing process for those wounds) inspired his passion for researching new therapeutics for treating the wounds of war.

Early Developments in Wound Healing

Beginning nearly 50 years ago, scientists discovered that wounds incurred prior to the third trimester left no scars. This opened up a range of research possibilities for regenerative medicine, but the decades in between have proved challenging when it comes to replicating the distinctive characteristics of fetal skin.

Unlike adult skin, fetal skin contains high levels of fibronectin, a protein that promotes cell binding and adhesion. There are two main forms of fibronectin: globular, which is found in blood, and fibrous, which is found in tissue. While fibrous fibronectin seems to be the more promising option for wound healing, research up to now has mainly focused on the globular structure. This is likely due to the fact that globular fibronectin was easier to source, and fibrous fibronectin has been an engineering challenge.

Engineering New Methods

The research team was able to overcome this hurdle, however, by pioneering new methods of nanofiber engineering. By using a platform called Rotary Jet-Spinning (RJS), the scientists were able to use a liquid polymer solution (globular fibronectin dissolved in a solvent) that then gets "spun" in a way that is not dissimilar to a cotton candy machine. The resulting fibers, less than a single micrometer in diameter, can be collected to form a large-scale dressing or bandage.

A dressing made from these fibers integrates into the wound, creating a scaffold of sorts that is able to "recruit" relevant stems cells necessary for regenerating tissues. The bandage is able to assist in healing before it is absorbed by the body.

Early tests showed wounds treated with the fibronectin dressing have nearly normal epidermal thickness and dermal architecture and are even able to regrow hair follicles (which is often referenced as one of the biggest challenges in wound healing). This solution is much more straightforward than other existing treatment options.

Other Treatments and Advantages

Other research is looking at using a soy-based nanofiber produced in a similar way (using RJS to spin ultra-thin soy fibers into dressings). Early experiments are finding increased success in using soy-based nanofibers to aid in healing wounds.

Both types of nanofiber dressings have great advantages in wound-healing, and it's likely that both could find their niche in the market. Soy-based nanofibers are inexpensive, which could make them an excellent option for large-sale use like on burns. Fibronectin dressings could be especially helpful and useful where the prevention of scarring is important, as well.

Further Reading & References:

Christophe O. Chantre, Patrick H. Campbell, Holly M. Golecki, Adrian T. Buganza, Andrew K. Capulli, Leila F. Deravi, Stephanie Dauth, Sean P. Sheehy, Jeffrey A. Paten, Karl Gledhill, Yanne S. Doucet, Hasan E. Abaci, Seungkuk Ahn, Benjamin D. Pope, Jeffrey W. Ruberti, Simon P. Hoerstrup, Angela M. Christiano, Kevin Kit Parker. Production-scale fibronectin nanofibers promote wound closure and tissue repair in a dermal mouse model. Biomaterials, 2018; 166: 96 DOI: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2018.03.006

Seungkuk Ahn, Christophe O. Chantre, Alanna R. Gannon, Johan U. Lind, Patrick H. Campbell, Thomas Grevesse, Blakely B. O'Connor, Kevin Kit Parker. Soy Protein/Cellulose Nanofiber Scaffolds Mimicking Skin Extracellular Matrix for Enhanced Wound Healing. Advanced Healthcare Materials, 2018; 1701175 DOI: 10.1002/adhm.201701175

Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. "Drawing inspiration from plants and animals to restore tissue: Nanofiber dressings heal wounds, promote regeneration." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 March 2018. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/03/180319090743.htm.


Innovative Research was established in 1998 after the realization that dependable, high-quality, and affordable research materials were hard to come by. Starting with core products like human plasma and serum, Innovative Research has grown to be a trusted supplier of all lab reagents, including human biologicals and ELISA kits. Today, we manufacture and supply over 3,000 high-quality human and animal biologicals including plasma, serum, tissues, and proteins.

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    Innovative Research was established in 1998 after the realization that dependable, high-quality, and affordable research materials were hard to come by. Starting with core products like human plasma and serum, Innovative Research has grown to be a trusted supplier of all lab reagents, including human biologicals and ELISA kits. Today, we manufacture and supply thousands of high-quality human and animal biologicals including plasma, serum, tissues, and proteins.


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