By recasting clot-promoting protein fibers found in blood into a fine meshwork, researchers have devised a wound covering that may speed healing and never need removing.
Gary L. Bowlin and his coworkers have produced mats of the protein, called fibrinogen, containing fibers just 80 nanometers thick. That's comparable in thickness to natural fibrinogen fibers in people's blood, says Bowlin, a biomedical engineer at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.
Other researchers previously coated gauze bandages with fibrinogen or formed the protein into brittle, sponge-like materials (SN: 6/19/99, p. 396: http://www.sciencenews.org/sn_arc99/6_19_99/bob2.htm). In contrast, the new fibrinogen mats would become integral parts of a wound. Unlike standa