Posted on Apr 14, 2009, 12 p.m.
By gary clark
In early clinical studies, wounds treated with the drug Avotermin, which was developed to reduce scarring after surgery, were less red, raised and visible than the same wounds treated with a placebo.
Two decades of research into how skin scarring occurs has identified transforming-growth factor ß3 (TGFbeta3), a cytokine signaling molecule that sends messages between cells, as a potential anti-scarring therapy. Renovo, the biotechnology company that developed an artificial form of TGFbeta3 called Avotermin, has conducted three randomised controlled phase I/II proof-of-concept and dose-finding trials on 200 people to test the safety and appropriate dosage of Avotermin.
Study participants were given identical 1 cm full-thickness skin incisions on both arms. At the same time, one of the arms was injected with Avotermin, while the other was injected with a placebo. The same injections were repeated 24 hours later. The physicians who assessed scar appearance several times over a period of a year were not told which arm was treated with Avotermin. They found that in all three trials, Avotermin reduced redness and flattened the scar after being injected under the skin at the site of the wound.
The reseachers concluded that: "Results of these phase I/II studies show that avotermin is a new class of prophylactic medicine promoting the regeneration of healthy skin and improving scar appearance compared with controls. With low doses injected locally around the time of surgery, avotermin is a well tolerated and convenient treatment. These studies suggest that avotermin has potential to provide an accelerated and permanent improvement in scarring." And adds Brendan Eley, chief executive of The Healing Foundation, who described TGFbeta3 as one of the "holy grails" of anti-scarring therapy, "That the impact on scar formation is both structural and aesthetic is very promising. What impact these therapies could have on patients with complicated and potentially disfiguring wounds - that's the exciting next step of this work which the clinical community will await with eager anticipation."
News Release: Scar-reducing drug shows promise www.news.bbc.co.uk April 10, 2009
News Release: Avotermin Could Give Accelerated And Permanent Improvement In Scarring www.medicalnewstoday.com April 10, 2009