How can bioinspired nanofibers regenerate the skin and promote wound healing?

Electrospinning is an emerging manufacturing technology that holds great promise for advancing skin tissue engineering and developing a range of new therapies.

Electrospinning is an emerging manufacturing technology that has gained a lot of attention in recent years in fields ranging from medicine and tissue engineering to energy and environmental sciences due to the ease of production. well-defined woven or non-woven fibrous materials. The process begins when a polymer solution or melt is exposed to a high electric field which deforms and rotates it, and manipulates it into very fine meshes of micro / nanostructured fibers.

The constant advancement and deployment of these materials, along with the beneficial characteristics of nanoscale structures, have made them eligible candidates of interest for the advancement and development of a range of therapies.

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh and the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa) explore the possibilities of electrospinning for skin tissue engineering in a recent review published in FILS Nanomedicine and nanotechnology.

When a wound occurs, a dynamic series of highly coordinated physicochemical events promotes repair and restores functionality. If the injury or burn is excessive or the patient has a chronic (non-healing, persistent) wound due, for example, to underlying type II diabetes, management and monitoring of the course of the disease damaged area today remain a challenge for clinicians. Electrospun nanostructured filaments can inspire the development of a healthy extracellular matrix, where manipulation of their properties can aid the healing process and trigger faster recovery.

Researchers around the world are working tirelessly to advance discoveries derived from this manufacturing technology. Not only can electrospinning help burn patients, it can also aid in drug administration and on-site treatment of skin cancer. Current and upcoming developments focused on manipulating the unique properties of these nanoscale filaments will facilitate optimized performance and provide answers to important issues faced by clinicians in wound management.

Antonios Keirouz, lead author of this study, said: “The constant evolution and rapid progress in this field will propel the innovative ideas already present towards accelerated clinical translation, giving birth to nanostructured products that can have a direct positive impact. on the patient outcomes.

Michael Chung, who has studied advances in electrospinning technology in the development of three-dimensional polymer scaffolds, added, “New techniques are emerging and continuously advancing to establish greater geometric control over the assembly of 3D nanofibrous scaffolds. . 3D materials made by electrospinning not only constantly improve their ability to imitate skin, but manufacturing also becomes more cost effective and faster.

In an ongoing clinical trial involving spray paint fibers directly onto the wound, using a handheld device – which can reduce pain and peel off once the area has healed – to advanced dressings for the wound. administration of drugs that can modulate and adapt the release of substances on-site, the advances in recent approaches to the fabrication of three-dimensional materials based on nanofibers will lead to the future of modeling skin-material interactions.

Dr Norbert Radacsi, Assistant Professor and Director of the NanoMaterials Laboratory at the School of Engineering, University of Edinburgh, said: These new techniques enable clinical applications of electrospinning technology for patient care.

His collaborator, Dr Giuseppino Fortunato, project manager and senior scientist at Empa’s Biomimetic Membranes and Textiles Laboratory, who has spent much of his research career studying and improving the applications of electrospun nanofibrous materials, added: “There is still room for technological improvements in electrospinning procedures with regard to skin tissue engineering, for example, to allow better cell adhesion, to improve the rate of neovascularization or for scaffolding materials resist wound contraction and fibrosis.

This rapid and constant progress in the field of electrospinning, making the production of such nanomaterials all the more pragmatic while considering the affordability of this process, will have a real positive effect and will play an essential role in the future of management. sores.

Written by: Antonios Keirouz, Michael Chung, Jaehoon Kwon, Giuseppino Fortunato, Norbert Radacsi

Reference: A. Keirouz, et al. ‘2D and 3D electrospinning technologies for the fabrication of nanofibrous scaffolds for skin tissue engineering: a review‘, WIREs Nanomedicine & Nanobiotechnology (2020). DOI: 10.1002 / wnan.1626

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