Post-injury scar-free healing

Aim: To develop anti-scarring biomembranes for use in cranial surgery as well as an eye drop formulation of Decorin with a chaperone protein to facilitate carriage of the drug across the cornea into the anterior and posterior segments of the eye for treatment of intraocular scarring. The team also aim to develop a temperature stable and cheaper peptide mimetics of Decorin that would retain efficacy yet display more desirable pharmaceutical properties to allow for application in austere environments and developing world.

Background: Scars are common, costly and can seriously impair quality of life. In addition to trauma, scarring and fibrosis are associated with broader disease and degenerative conditions. There is no treatment currently proven to control problem fibrosis and lessen the functional impact of scarring.  In the first phase of the SRMRC Professors Logan and Grover exploited a potent anti-scarring molecule called Decorin.

They sourced GMP manufactured recombinant Decorin and demonstrated its translatable potential by securing two fully funded clinical trials of their novel formulated anti-scarring dressings to treat skin burns and damaged corneas. The team believe this technology has the potential for expansion to other indications to prevent scarring in many more tissues injured by trauma or disease.

Method: For the anti-scarring cranial biomembranes the team plans to use the membrane technology developed in the first phase of the SRMRC and modify the formulation to enable use on the surface of the brain. This should allow them to prevent post-surgical adhesion between the meninges and the overlying skin.

For the Decorin-CPP eye drops the team will formulate and test a medical device to deliver pharmacologically relevant doses of Decorin or other large drugs to retinal tissues in an ex vivo model after topical delivery.

In the third section of the study they will run a systematic determination of the active sequences in the Decorin molecule to enable the design of bespoke, stable and cheap molecules that will allow for the deployment of anti-scarring in a selection of tissues.

Lead researchers