Human skin acts as an important line of defence against the external environment. To preserve this important function, the regeneration of injured skin is critical. Scientists are now able to artificially replicate aspects of the complex microenvironment in which human skin stem cells reside thanks to the technological advances in the field of biomaterial devices. Dr Ilida Ortega Asencio, from the University of Sheffield, UK, and her team have developed a new approach in which electrospun patches with defined microenvironments can be functionalised with key compounds to aid the formation of new blood vessels in injured skin.
Chemotherapy, one of the mainstays of cancer treatment, can unfortunately act as a double-edged sword. While achieving the intended aim of killing cancerous cells, it also generates an accumulation of cell debris, which in turn, promotes tumour growth by stimulating inflammation in the tumour microenvironment. Dr Dipak Panigrahy and his colleagues from Harvard Medical School, USA, have conducted several studies in mice showing that targeting the tumour cell debris-mediated surge of proinflammatory and protumourigenic factors provides a strategy for enhancing the efficacy of chemotherapy.
Children and youth who experience trauma often develop posttraumatic stress symptoms, and some go on to develop posttraumatic stress disorder or PTSD. Toria Herd from the Pennsylvania State University, US, is exploring the factors that put adolescents at risk of developing PTSD and also those that may protect against this consequence associated with trauma exposure. Her findings have important implications for the trauma-informed care of young people and the reduction of the long-term impact of trauma on individuals and families.
The multi-theory model (MTM) of health behavior change provides a theoretical framework for understanding and promoting health behaviors. Professor Manoj Sharma from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, the originator of this model, has applied this model to breast cancer and undertaking mammography screening in women from groups underserved in current healthcare. His findings have important theoretical and practical implications.
The UK-based Pregnancy Care Integrating Translational Science, Everywhere (PRECISE) Network has set up biorepositories across sub-Saharan Africa to investigate the causes of placental pregnancy complications and enhance research capacity. The project encountered several challenges relating to facilities, staffing, training, cultural barriers, procurement, shipping and sample storage which impacted project timings and budget. However, with appropriate training and infrastructure development, the researchers have shown that is possible to facilitate high-quality sample collection in this region. This important achievement provides vital encouragement in support of establishing further biorepositories in less affluent regions.
Interventions designed to improve health, including targeted drugs and medical devices, typically undergo a complex and lengthy process of development. In a collaboration between the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Cornell University, the National Institutes of Health and Case Western Reserve University in the USA, experts Dr Clara Pelfrey, Dr Linda Scholl and colleagues have designed a case study protocol to improve understanding of this process.