Patients who undergo skin injuries endure hospital stays, infection and/or succumb to death; therefore, advances in wound healing aim to improve clinical practices underlying macroscale healing to effectively intervene in microscale pathophysiology. As a result, strategies that optimize wound healing have motivated the design of new therapeutic products.
In a new report in Science Advances, Benjamin Freedman and a team of researchers in the School of Engineering, the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, and the Brigham Women’s Hospital, Harvard, summarized advances in the development of new drugs, biomaterial therapies and biological products suited for wound healing. They classified the products as marketed therapies and agents for clinical trials to explore their successful and accelerated translation for wound healing.
The timeframe of wound healing can vary and affect the process of patient recovery. Most wounds are classified as acute or chronic situations according to their clinical presentations. Untreated wounds can undergo cell death and necrosis, and represent ischemia relative to inadequate circulation due to microvascular damage and vasoconstriction. The nutritional status, fibroblast cell and progenitor health, as well as infectious bioburden, can contribute to disease progression.
Freedman and colleagues observed the economic challenges of wound care on health care systems that showed an increasing risk in patients with age and obesity alongside those who presented with high-risk comorbidities. Surgical wounds are the largest wound subset, accounting for careful surgical techniques and optimal suture materials in hospitals. Existing standards for interventional healing rely on the preparation of a viable wound bed for assisted healing to remove foreign materials and ischemic tissue. More complex wounds require secondary healing or a bridge for closure. Pressure injuries represent a more serious problem in bedridden patients.