Dr Tristan Clemons, a UWA researcher, does his work on this minute scale. And while working on the nanoscale is pushing our science and technology to its limits, it’s on this tiny new frontier that the solutions to scar tissue might be found.

“Nanotechnology is answering a lot of questions about phenomena, which, up until now, have been unexplained,” says Tristan.

“By understanding how things operate on the nanoscale, we’re discovering a whole new world of scientific possibilities.”

So why do scientists need to work on the nanoscale to help heal burn wounds?

While the human body has been healing from burns for thousands of years, the process could be improved. Anyone with a scar can tell you that.

In the first step of the healing process, the body covers the wound with new cells in a process called reseeding.

“In the second stage, the body uses collagen to lay down new tissue and keep out infection. However, the body goes a little too far and expresses too much collagen. This leads to dense and fibrous scar tissue,” said Tristan.

It’s in the reseeding process that Tristan and his team hope to use nano-scaffolds to improve the healing process. These nano-scaffolds, which are tiny structures 100 times smaller than a human hair, allow us to better control cell growth in the first stage of wound healing.

“By better controlling the healing process, we can avoid the overexpression of collagen. This would prevent the formation of lasting scar tissue.”

Image Credit:  Shutterstock

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