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Speeding up wound healing the EGF way.

Speeding up wound healing the EGF EGF
epidermal growth factor

Human skin wounds heal faster when treated with epidermal growth factor Epidermal growth factor or EGF is a growth factor that plays an important role in the regulation of cell growth, proliferation and differentiation. Human EGF is a 6045 Da protein with 53 amino acid residues and three intramolecular disulfide bonds.  (EGF), according to a new study. The finding, which confirms results in pigs, may enable physicians to lower the infection rate of otherwise slow-to-heal wounds and shorten the waiting time between skin grafts in burn victims. In addition, the investigators say their work and follow-up studies now underway suggest that other genetically engineered growth factors, alone or combined with EGF, may speed healing in a variety of skin wounds.

Scientists from Emory University in Atlanta, Vanderbilt University in Nashville and the University of Louisville See also
  • The University of Louisville Cardinal Singers
  • The University of Louisville Collegiate Chorale
  • History of Louisville, Kentucky
  • McConnell Center

1. ^ [1]
2. ^ [2] URL accessed on June 8 2006
 in Kentucky studied pairs of similar skin regions in each of 12 plastic surgery and burn patients. Using a surgical shaver, they removed patches of epidermis--the top skin layer -- and upper layers of the underlying dermis dermis: see skin.  for skin grafts needed by the patients, which created "wounds" they could study. Twice a day they treated one injured region of each patient with antibiotic cream alone and the other site with the cream plus EGF. Photographs and biopsies revealed that EGF-treated wounds healed an average of 1.5 days faster than wounds receiving the cream only.

"A day and a half is not that big a deal per se," notes coauthor Gregory L. Brown of the University of Louisville. But if a burn patient has only 20 percent of his or her skin available for grafts, he says, EGF could shorten the healing time required for that skin to yield another graft. The team reports its findings in the July 13 NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE The New England Journal of Medicine (New Engl J Med or NEJM) is an English-language peer-reviewed medical journal published by the Massachusetts Medical Society. It is one of the most popular and widely-read peer-reviewed general medical journals in the world. .

Brown and Vanderbilt's Lillian B. Nanney, a coauthor of the paper, have separately begun several other wound-healing studies, they told SCIENCE NEWS. In pigs, whose skin resembles that of humans, both are examining the ability of other growth stimulants, including fibroblast growth factor Fibroblast growth factors, or FGFs, are a family of growth factors involved in wound healing and embryonic development. The FGFs are heparin-binding proteins and interactions with cell-surface associated heparan sulfate proteoglycans have been shown to be essential for FGF  and transforming growth factor-beta, to speed dermal wound healing. In humans, Brown's group is studying EGF's effect on diabetic ulcers -- surface wounds that resist rapid healing. Nanney says other Vanderbilt researchers will soon begin a clinical trial using fibroblast growth factor to heal deep, persistent bedsores Bedsores Definition

Bedsores are also called decubitus ulcers, pressure ulcers, or pressure sores. These tender or inflamed patches develop when skin covering a weight-bearing part of the body is squeezed between bone and another body part, or a bed,
 that can require limb amputation amputation (ăm'pyətā`shən), removal of all or part of a limb or other body part. Although amputation has been practiced for centuries, the development of sophisticated techniques for treatment and prevention of infection has greatly  if left untreated. And researchers at several centers are investigating the wound-healing effects of intramuscularly injected human growth factor. "We don't know in wounds what growth factors come into play and in which sequence," Brown says.

Researchers say studies of EGF for treating burned skin await further results of its effectiveness in wounds less infection-prone. Although the Food and Drug Administration so far has approved EGF only for experimental treatment of skin graft wounds, Nanney says she envisions the day when people can routinely obtain an EGF preparation "over the counter for skin wounded during a fall or from a scrape-of-the-knee injury."
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Title Annotation:epidermal growth factor
Author:Cowen, R.
Publication:Science News
Date:Jul 15, 1989
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