Researchers are using fish in a groundbreaking study to identify the genes that cause scarring.
A £ 1.5 million five-year research program funded by The Scar Free Foundation and led by the University of Bristol will include studies of the translucent zebrafish.
Live imaging and genetic analysis of the fish, which can rapidly grow tissue and repair wounds, will be used to model healing and scarring.
Researchers will also identify genetic differences and examine the genetic makeup of scars by analyzing DNA data from large groups of people.
These include those with scarring from BCG vaccination, children with cleft lip surgery, women with caesarean section scars, and patients with internal lung scarring.
Paul Martin, professor of cell biology at the University of Bristol, said the project would provide “a unique opportunity to conduct world-class research into the genetics of scarring.”
“The program will allow us to marry the fantastic population health cohort approaches that Bristol is doing so well with our own wet lab experimental and cell biology studies to break new ground in scar research,” said Prof. Martin.
An estimated 20 million people in the UK have a scar.
Researchers say the study’s findings could be transformative for people in the UK and around the world.
Brendan Eley, chief executive of the Scar Free Foundation, said, “ Scars can cause long-term emotional and physical problems, including pain, itching and loss of movement, requiring frequent surgeries, skin grafts, and the application of cream multiple times a day . daily physiotherapy.
“We want to find ways to make life easier for the millions of people with scars in the UK in the future.”