Researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, a part of Yeshiva University, are using novel nanoparticles to significantly speed up the healing of wounds. They discovered that the naturally produced fidgetin-like 2 (FL2) enzyme slows down the migration of cells as they travel toward a wound site. To counteract this process, the investigators developed a silencing RNA (siRNA) drug that inhibits the gene responsible for the production of FL2.
In order to actually deliver the siRNA into the interior of cells before degrading, the researchers encapsulated it in specially designed nanoparticles that keep their cargo fresh and intact before reaching the cell and letting it flow out.
Here’s a time lapse video of burned skin healing with and without the nanoparticle delivered gene inhibitor:
From the study abstract in Journal of Investigative Dermatology:
In this study, we identify the previously uncharacterized microtubule-severing enzyme, Fidgetin-like 2 (FL2), as a fundamental regulator of cell migration that can be targeted in vivo using nanoparticle-encapsulated siRNA to promote wound closure and regeneration. In vitro, depletion of FL2 from mammalian tissue culture cells results in a more than two-fold increase in the rate of cell movement, due in part to a significant increase in directional motility. Immunofluorescence analyses indicate that FL2 normally localizes to the cell edge, importantly to the leading edge of polarized cells, where it regulates the organization and dynamics of the microtubule cytoskeleton. To clinically translate these findings, we utilized a nanoparticle-based siRNA delivery platform to locally deplete FL2 in both murine full-thickness excisional and burn wounds. Topical application of FL2 siRNA nanoparticles to either wound type results in a significant enhancement in the rate and quality of wound closure both clinically and histologically relative to controls.
Study in Journal of Investigative Dermatology: Fidgetin-Like 2: A Microtubule-Based Regulator of Wound Healing…