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The Bandage That Heals

Wound sealant uses collagen to speed skin repair

(HealthDay is the new name for HealthScoutNEws.)

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 6, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- A collagen-based wound sealant developed at Texas A&M University could encourage quicker healing of human and animal wounds.

The sealant can be poured or injected into a wound to speed closure of the wound. In tests with laboratory rats, wounds treated with the sealant had the same amount of healing in three days as untreated wounds had in six days.

Collagen has long been considered a preferred material for wound treatment because it's inexpensive, easily prepared and can be shaped to fit the wound site. Because it's a natural part of the body, collagen causes few allergic reactions.

"Collagen is the most abundant protein in the mammalian body, and in skin, it's about 60 percent of your total protein. It's been described as literally the glue that holds you together. The bottom line is that collagen has been used for centuries as something to repair wounds because it is a natural component of the tissue," researcher Dr. Douglas Miller says in a news release.

He and his colleagues developed a mixture of collagen and other ingredients, as well as a process that helps bind the sealant to the wound. The sealant resembles gelatin but is flexible.

"If you've got a large, open wound, your body moves, your skin moves, your muscles flex, and if this doesn't flex with it, it simply is going to tear. This has good mechanical strength, but it also has elasticity," Miller says.

The sealant needs to be applied only once and could save patients with deep wounds from having to make repeated visits to the doctor to get the wound cleaned.

More human and animal testing needs to be done on the sealant.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about injuries and wounds.

SOURCE: Texas A&M University, news release, July 2003
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