Researchers using an experimental agent known as avotermin found that formation of scars was reduced significantly compared with placebo during the period of between six weeks and 12 months after the incisions via the full skin thickness. The research was carried out by Mark W. J Ferguson and colleagues from University of Manchester, England. All the researchers were employees of Renovo, the company that is developing this product and the findings were reported in The Lancet in edition of April 11.

The findings of the research

The group involved in the research found that scars treated with avotermin faded significantly faster but just at intermediate dosage of the treatment. Low avotermin doses, human transforming recombinant growth factor beta 3 was well tolerated. In the initial, findings were also very promising among the healthy volunteers and it was suggested that the gene or its growth factor could be very useful in aiding scarring resulting from burns, trauma and immunological fibrotic disorders like idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, said the accompanying editorial.

Various editorialists from University of Alberta, Edward E. Tredget and Jie Ding noted that there are only very few if any exists accepted antifibrotic treatments or drugs that are established for assisting patients with such fibroproliferative disorders. According to preclinical studies, the growth factor that is available in considerably high levels in the embryonic skin but tends to decrease with age plays a critical role in the healing of scars. Those participating in the trials received an avotermin intradermal injection randomly at concentrations that ranged between 0.25 and 500 ng/100 per linear cm in both margins. The injections were later repeated 24 hours after upper arm incisions. Similar wounds were made on the other arm which was also treated using the standard wound care or placebo injections.

The effects of avotermin on wound healing

According to the research findings, high doses of avotermin led to significant improvements just as the study investigators, clinical and lay assessors determined. The appearance of scars improved by over 10 percent with the wounds treated with avotermin showing an improvement of 60 percent with the 12 month period of the study. A quarter of the research showed an improvement of 25 percent that Dr. Treget referred to as a better standard as it had important clinical benefits. Even though scar formation among younger patients is much worse compared to formation of scars among adults, these studies showed a significant improvement in the appearance of scars with active treatment over the age range.

Histological assessments made on the studies also showed a significant reduction the abnormal orientation of the collagen fibers in scars treated with avotermin. Even though both swelling and erythema were commonly seen in wounds treated with avotermin, they were consistent with the normal healing of wounds. Mostly importantly, this treatment must be availed prior to an injury for it to be effective.