Invention Library

HealSuture: A Suture That Deposits a Tissue Regenerative Medicine to Prevent Scarring During Wound Healing

Scars are an inescapable consequence of surgical wound healing because of normal processes of repair in mammals. For functional and cosmetic reasons, there is great interest in developing tools for non-scarring regeneration of normal tissue after a surgical procedure. While considerable effort has been dedicated to improving suturing and wound healing strategies that reduce scarring, more effective approaches are still needed.

Basic research into the regenerative capabilities of amphibians and the MRL mouse strain that can regenerate lost appendages, where scars do not develop at the injury site as a result of epimorphic healing, has now led to the development of a novel suture formulation that limits scarring. This clinical device – referred to as HealSuture due to its deposition of a compound Lankenau Institute for Medical Research scientists have determined can promote epimorphic regenerative healing – offers an off-the-shelf modality to reprogram the capabilities of a tissue microenvironment, limiting the formation of scar tissue during the healing of surgical wounds.

HealSuture is conceptualized in two forms for different surgical uses. The first is a dissolvable suture infused with an active compound. The second is a compound-coated silk suture with similar properties. In essence, these sutures locally re-activate a latent fetal program of stem cell-based regenerative healing that avoids fibrotic deposition (scar tissue).

Using the suture as a time-release depot, an active compound that inhibits prolyl 4-hydrolases is released continuously into the local tissue over a ~2 week period as the suture dissolves or before the silk suture is removed. Varying doses released by different dissolvable suture preparations are envisioned to tailor treatments to maximize non-scarring healing of various types or locations of surgical wounds. This technology does not interfere with other methodologies that may be applied by surgeons to improve wound healing, including to limit scar formation, infection risk or other factors that influence optimal wound healing in a patient.

HealSuture offers an off-the-shelf clinical device to capture a latent capability for epimorphic healing, a non-scarring process of tissue regeneration suppressed in mammals after fetal development that can locally re-activated by this technology.