A NEW medicinal cream may hold the key to making ugly and unsightly scars a problem of the past for many people.
Researchers from the University of Western Australia (UWA) and industry partners have developed the cream, with early trials delivering promising results.
A preliminary study was carried out on a group of volunteers by researchers from UWA and Fiona Stanley Hospital, with support from Pharmaxis.
Fiona Wood from UWA's Medical School said the drug was was well tolerated by patients and displayed "full inhibition" of enzymes the drug targeted to prevent scarring.
"Scars are a constant reminder of trauma with both physical and psychological impact. Our aim is to reduce the scar and reduce the impact," Professor Wood said.
The phase 1 trial saw four subjects with burns or surgical scars issued a single dose of the cream in four different strengths. This was followed by six subjects receiving the highest dose once daily over a period of seven days.
Principal investigator Kylie Sandy-Hodgetts said the drug had been deemed safe. The next phase of the study will focus on patients with established scars.
"We will be investigating the safety of three months' treatment... and exploring if three months... can make a difference to both the appearance and structure of their scars," Dr Sandy-Hodgetts said.
Stan Perron Centre for Excellence in Childhood Burns senior research fellow Mark Fear said research had indicated the cream had the potential to treat even established scars.
"We now understand... that even scars which are stable and many years old are... replenishing a significant proportion of mature, stiff collagen in a matter of a few months," Dr Fear said.
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