SpeakerProf. Ronke Olabisi, Rutgers University, Host: Beth Pruitt
Date and LocationWednesday November 14, 2018 11:00am to 12:00pm
Chronic wounds are skin injuries that recur or fail to heal by 6 weeks. These wounds affect 6.5 million patients in the US and this number is growing rapidly due to a drastic increase in the number of diabetics, the obese, and the elderly, all populations in which wound healing is im- paired. Mesenchymal stem cells (commonly known as adult stem cells) and topically applied in- sulin have each shown promise in healing otherwise intractable wounds. Understanding how best to exploit their wound healing potential will improve our ability to accelerate wound healing. Mesenchymal stem cells assist wound healing by secreting a host of growth factors that promote actions critical to wound healing, such as new blood vessel formation, increases in the produc- tion of skin constituents, and recruitment of cells that clean wounds and form scar tissue. Insulin assists wound healing by activating the metabolic pathway that recruits mesenchymal stem cells and skin cells. Recently, we made the novel observation that diabetic excise wounds treated with both mesenchymal stem cells and insulin secreting cells together: 1) healed without intermediate scab or scar formation; 2) healed at faster rates than normal non-diabetic wounds; and 3) healed 3x faster than controls and 2x faster than wounds healed by either cell type alone. Although ther- apies using only mesenchymal stem cells have shown promise, the gains in healing have been too modest to justify widespread use beyond the most difficult wounds. Our discovery that the combination of these cells heal wounds faster than normal and without scar opens the door to po- tential widespread use of cell-based strategies to accelerate wound healing. Our long-term goal is to develop a cell-based dressing for use in a variety of wounds. Current research efforts are in- vestigating the cause of this synergistic effect, and whether it is applicable to other wounds such as burns and hypertrophic scar.