A multidisciplinary team of scientists at Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has developed several biomaterials based on human keratin proteins.
The new materials – keratin based hydrogels, elastomers, and coatings – are the result of a 12-month program funded internally by SwRI.
The materials have many uses including wound healing, coatings for medical implants, soft tissue augmentation, drug delivery, cellular and protein therapy delivery, and matrices and scaffolds for tissue engineering.
‘These developments represent a new class of biomaterials that may prove to be nearly invisible to the human immune system,’ says Senior Research Scientist Dr. Mark Van Dyke, a principal developer of the new materials.
Experiments on the biomaterials has shown their potential to enhance tissue growth. In recent wound healing trials, data suggest that tissue repair in animals occurs three to four times faster in the presence of a keratin wound dressing.