Researchers from The University of Western Australia (UWA; Perth, Australia) have partnered with industry to conduct a world-first study to investigate a new product—a topical cream containing the drug PXS-6302 (Pharmaxis)—that has the potential to prevent or reduce scars forming after trauma and particularly following burn injury.
Kylie Sandy-Hodgetts, Mark Fear, and Fiona Wood, all from UWA Medical School and the Skin Integrity Research Institute UWA, are working with industry partner pharmaceutical company Pharmaxis, clinical trials facility Linear Clinical, the Burn Injury Research Unit, and Burns Service at Fiona Stanley Hospital.
Sandy-Hodgetts says skin scars placed a substantial physical and psychological burden on patients. “Current treatments aim to rectify the scar in the acute phase, such as during wound healing and scar maturation, through options such as compression therapy, silicone gel sheeting, or when the scar is established by cryotherapy, scar revision, or laser with limited outcomes at times,” she adds. “This new compound may potentially avoid the need for invasive procedures such as further surgery or laser procedures.”
The world-first human trial, led by Wood and Sandy-Hodgetts, aims to determine the safety and tolerability of the product in healthy volunteers, which will lead to further trials in burns and surgical patients.
“Scar formation following surgery has a huge impact on patient wellbeing and how they feel about themselves,” Sandy-Hodgetts comments.
“What we are hoping is that this new cream may have the potential to improve scar outcomes in patients following surgery.”
Wood notes that it was exciting for the research team to explore a novel path to reduce scarring and to be moving closer to that goal: “Scar-less healing is the vision that has motivated our work over many decades”.
Pharmaxis CEO Gary Phillips says that the company is also very excited to see its expertise in fibrosis being applied to help patients with scarring.
“We have had a long and productive collaboration with researchers at UWA and this world-first trial of our drug PXS-6302 will establish whether the remarkable results seen in the pre-clinical models can be replicated in patients,” he states.
“Scarring can have a devastating and life-long impact on people who have suffered traumatic injuries. A topical cream to reduce scarring would have a significant role in treatment”.