Researchers from The University of Western Australia have partnered with industry to conduct a world-first study to investigate a new product that has the potential to prevent or reduce scars forming after trauma and particularly following burn injury.
Dr Kylie Sandy-Hodgetts Dr Mark Fear and Professor Fiona Wood, from UWA Medical School and the Skin Integrity Research Institute UWA, are working with industry partner pharmaceutical company Pharmaxis Ltd, clinical trials facility Linear Clinical, the Burn Injury Research Unit and Burns Service at Fiona Stanley Hospital.
“This new compound may potentially avoid the need for invasive procedures such as further surgery or laser procedures.”Dr Sandy-Hodgetts
Dr Sandy-Hodgetts said skin scars placed a substantial physical and psychological burden on patients.
“Current treatments aim to rectify the scar in the acute phase such as during wound healing and scar maturation through options such as compression therapy, silicone gel sheeting or when the scar is established by cryotherapy, scar revision or laser with limited outcomes at times,” Dr Sandy-Hodgetts said.
“This new compound may potentially avoid the need for invasive procedures such as further surgery or laser procedures.”
The world-first human trial led, by Professor Wood and Dr Sandy-Hodgetts, aims to to determine the safety and tolerability of the product in healthy volunteers, which will lead to further trials in burns and surgical patients.
“Scar formation following surgery has a huge impact on patient wellbeing and how they feel about themselves,” Dr Sandy-Hodgetts said.
“What we’re hoping is that this new cream may have the potential to improve scar outcomes in patients following surgery.
Professor Fiona Wood said it was exciting for the research team to explore a novel path to reduce scarring and to be moving closer to that goal.
“Scar-less healing is the vision that has motivated our work over many decades,” Professor Wood said.
Pharmaxis CEO Gary Phillips said the company was very excited to see its expertise in fibrosis being applied to help patients with scarring.
“We have had a long and productive collaboration with researchers at UWA and this world-first trial of our drug PXS-6302 will establish whether the remarkable results seen in the pre-clinical models can be replicated in patients,” Mr Phillips said.
“Scarring can have a devastating and life-long impact on people who have suffered traumatic injuries. A topical cream to reduce scarring would have a significant role in treatment”.