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University of Florida, USA
The skin is the largest organ of our bodies, and it is located at the interface between the external and internal environments where it plays a strategic role in providing a barrier against infection and damage by a wide range of noxious stressors (UV radiation, mechanical, and chemical insults), as... read morewell as acting as a key sensory system to the surrounding environment. Obviously, injuries to the skin must be healed quickly and with as much recovery of the normal function as possible.
The last few decades have seen a dramatic increase in the understanding of the basic molecular and cellular regulation of normal skin wound healing, which led to a much deeper understanding of the mechanisms that cause acute wounds to fail to heal and become chronic wounds, or to heal excessively and generate fibrotic pathologies. This increased knowledge base has enabled the development of new and more effective therapies that correct the conditions that disrupted normal healing, leading to major advances in developing active wound dressings, recombinant growth factors, bioengineered skin substitutes, rapid point-of-care diagnostics, stem cell therapies, effective antiscarring approaches and better ‘personalized therapies’.
As the average age of the populations of developed and developing countries progressively increases, the cost impact of preventing and treating health care problems that are strongly associated with aging, such as chronic wounds, will continue to consume larger amounts of total health care expenditures. This has led to increased emphasis on educating primary care physicians, specialists and nurses in modern, effective wound care procedures.
This Henry Stewart Talks series on Wound Healing will feature a number of key researchers and clinician scientists who are the thought leaders in their areas of wound healing. They will review the current state of knowledge on their topic and will provide a glimpse into potential future advances.