Thursday, April 21, 2011

Collagenase: Helping Small Cuts Heal


The other day, I attempted to pick up an "eye-ball" estimated 35-pound lead cylinder. My estimate was tragically incorrect, one thing led to another and and I ended up with a cut on my right middle finger. I started bleeding. All I could think of was to disinfect the wound. A friend at the scene, Matt, immediately diagnosed me with a sore [insert woman's part]. Keep in mind two things, he is not a doctor and I am a male.

Which made me think about how we must weave through the stigma associated with having a watchful eye on our health. The label hypochondriac gets tossed around so freely as if were going out of fashion. People should not be ashamed to properly take care of a small cut or any other similar injury. Chronic small cuts leave us vulnerable to other life threatening infections (e.g., viruses, bacteria). That is why researchers at Tufts University are looking into speeding up the healing time for chronic "small cuts". Here is what they have so far*:

  1. The enzyme collagenase, produced by the bacterium Clostridium histolyticum, breaks down collagen.
  2. A byproduct of the collagen breakdown are protein fragments called peptides.
  3. The peptides trigger a response from our cells which speed up the healing process.
Aside from preventing life-threatening infections, a faster healing cycle, can reduce scarring. Human tests are close to starting. Expect a collagenase gel in your pharmacies soon!



[*via technologyreview.com, for full article on the healing agents, click here.]

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