Avoterim May Speed Healing, Reduce Scarring

Transforming growth factor β3 superior to placebo in short- and long-term scar appearance

FRIDAY, April 10 (HealthDay News) -- Transforming growth factor β3 (TGFβ3), also known as avotermin, significantly improved the appearance of scars in both the short term and long term in a series of three studies conducted in the United Kingdom, according to research published in the April 11 issue of The Lancet.

Mark W.J. Ferguson, Ph.D., of the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted three double-blind, placebo-controlled studies in which subjects were randomized to receive either avotermin injected under the skin at both margins of a 1 centimeter skin incision prior to the incision being made and again 24 hours later, or placebo and standard wound care. Scarring was visually assessed on a 100 millimeter visual analogue scale (VAS) after six months and again at 12 months in two of the studies, and from week six to month seven in the third study. Study subjects and investigators evaluating the scarring were blinded to the treatment used.

In two of the studies, avotermin improved median VAS score by 5 mm compared to placebo after six months and 8 mm after 12 months, the researchers report. In the third study, avotermin demonstrated an improvement of 16.12 mm on the VAS scale in as early as six weeks and an overall mean improvement that ranged from 14.84 to 64.25 mm. Erythema and edema occurred more frequently with avotermin, but these side effects were temporary, the authors note.

"Avotermin has potential to provide an accelerated and permanent improvement in scarring," Ferguson and colleagues conclude.

The study was funded by Renovo, a U.K. company that manufactures several medications to reduce scarring. All authors are, or were formerly, employees of Renovo.

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