Researchers from the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore have made a major breakthrough in the healing of wounds. The team of scientists created water-soluble collagen from the scales of fish and published their findings in Acta Biomaterialia, an international peer-reviewed journal.
The major breakthrough
Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University is considered by many to be one of the world’s leading research universities, so scientific breakthroughs like these aren’t unheard of for the institution. A team of researchers discovered a technique to make fish scale-derived collagen water soluble. This, according to the researchers, may have a major part in promoting the healing of wounds. Collagen derived from the scales of fish is said to promote wound healing in its natural form, and the researchers discovered that chemical modifications may be able to allow the protein to hold drugs without any risk of dissolving.
The breakthrough by NTU researchers could result in more use of marine collagen, as fish scales are commonly discarded as they were previously thought to have little use by fisheries. The discovery of this new way of using collagen for drug delivery to assist with wound healing comes after nearly six years of research at NTU, and could see much of the world’s aquaculture waste become useful for biomedical research and application.
What does this mean?
The research led by both Professors Cleo Choong and Andrew Tan in association with Professor Veronique Angeli from the National University of Singapore means that collagen, with the appropriate chemical alterations, could eventually become a carrier of wound-healing and growth-promoting drugs that normally would be damaged under acidic conditions. Using this method, collagen could one day be used in a biomedical capacity to replace or work side-by-side with wound dressings and promote greater healing potential.
Collagen-based wound healing could replace the currently common mammalian bovine and porcine collagens, which don’t offer the same level of potential presented by fish-based collagen. Andrew Tan, an associate professor at the Nanyang Technological University said of the breakthrough: “Collagen is commonly used for wound dressing material due to its favourable biological properties. Applying collagen dressings to a wound to stimulate tissue growth can provide relief for a wide variety of injuries. Collagen dressings come in all shapes and sizes; gels, pastes, powders and pads. It can potentially treat wounds of all dimensions.”
The important role of collagen
Collagen plays a major part in the human body, as it is one of the primary components found in skin and connective tissues. As our bodies age, the level of natural collagen being produced by the body begins to reduce, resulting in skin becoming less resilient and becoming thin and wrinkled. There are a number of skin treatments and collagen supplements on the market, including LQ’s Skin, Hair, and Nails liquid health supplement, and LQ’s Advanced Skin care liquid supplement, both of which feature both marine collagen and vitamin C.