Dr. Tony Yuan from Naval Medical Research Unit - San Antonio presented a poster on the development of a nanofibrous fibrinogen-chitosan scaffold for the recruitment of fibroblasts during wound healing at the Military Health Systems Research Symposium, Kissimmee, Florida, August 29. (U.S. Navy Photo/Released/Katie Berland)
KISSIMMEE, Florida – A researcher from the Naval Medical Research Unit – San Antonio (NAMRU-SA) shared findings on the fabrication and characterization of a novel nanofibrous scaffold that could potentially improve wound healing by enhancing wound closure, promoting hemostasis, and acting as a temporary physical barrier against debris and microbial pathogens during the Military Health System Research Symposium (MHSRS), August 27 – 30.
“Combat wounds are a unique challenge to the military health system,” said Capt. Jonathan Stahl, Principal Investigator, Craniofacial Health and Restorative Medicine, Biomaterials and Epidemiology Department. “Extended evacuation times, unique infections, and the complexity of wound injuries can greatly complicate the wound healing process and significantly worsen patient prognosis.”
Stahl and a team of researchers developed a polymer nanofiber scaffold produced from naturally available polymers by using a high-voltage fabrication technique called electrospinning. In addition to the nanofibrous scaffold, a biological functional growth factor was incorporated as a method to improve cellular recruitment during wound healing. Through the results of the research, it was demonstrated that it was possible to significantly improve cell function and recruitment by using the scaffold.
“Overall, electrospun scaffolds such as this one are promising candidates for the development of advanced, specialized wound dressings for clinical use. This has the potential to reduce hospital stays and increase the rate of warfighters returned to service after injury,” said Stahl.
The research findings suggested a higher cellular migration can be promoted through the release of a (blood) platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) from a nanofibrous scaffold. According to Stahl, PDGF is an important first step in the development of a wound dressing capable of improving cellular recruitment at the site of healing, which could potentially lead to faster wound closure and better patient outcomes in terms of aesthetics and function.
MHSRS is the Department of Defense's (DoD) premier scientific meeting; a unique collaborative opportunity for military medical care providers, DoD scientists, academia and industry to exchange information on research advancements and health care developments in the areas of combat casualty care, military operational medicine, clinical and rehabilitative medicine and military infectious disease research program.
The Naval Medical Research Center’s eight laboratories, including NAMRU-SA, are engaged in a broad spectrum of activity from basic science in the laboratory to field studies at sites in austere and remote areas of the world to operational environments.
In support of the Navy, Marine Corps, and joint U.S. warfighters, researchers study infectious diseases; biological warfare detection and defense; combat casualty care; environmental health concerns; aerospace and undersea medicine; medical modeling, simulation and operational mission support; and epidemiology and behavioral sciences.
NAMRU-SA’s mission is to conduct medical, dental, directed energy research, and biomedical research, which focuses on ways to enhance the health, safety, performance, and operational readiness of Navy and Marine Corps personnel and addresses their emergent medical and dental problems in routine and combat operations.