East Grinstead Research Group unveil plans for Scar Biobank

Monday 12th September 2016

East Grinstead Research Group unveil plans for Scar Biobank

Queen Victoria Hospital, Blond McIndoe Research Foundation and Horder Healthcare have unveiled plans this week for the development of a Scar BioBank. The scar tissue repository will help scientists and doctors work towards improved healing for the millions of people affected each year by scarring. Severely scarred areas require regular surgery to relieve tension across joints as the body grows and changes. To date there is no reliable effective treatment or cure.

Researchers developing the Scar BioBank will carefully process and store hundreds of scar samples in order to provide a resource to analyse how the scar has formed. The scar tissue will be donated by consenting patients undergoing surgical revision or reconstructive surgery at the Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead.

Professor Tony Metcalfe, Director of Research at the Blond McIndoe Research Foundation, said “This brings us a step closer to the ultimate goal of scar-free healing. Being able to work with human scar tissue will help us to better understand the process of scar formation. This tissue, which has previously been discarded, is invaluable to the development of our work. We can use it to look at the role of key molecules and proteins in individual patients, and that will help us to understand the body’s own regenerative processes and eventually target the right treatment for patients. There are no other known scar tissue biobanks in the UK, and we hope this work in East Grinstead will also support other research groups working on scarring, both nationally and internationally.

Baljit Dheansa, consultant plastic surgeon at Queen Victoria Hospital, said: “I see patients every day suffering from debilitating physical and psychological issues as a result of severe scarring. Reducing the impact of scarring would make a significant difference to a patient’s comfort, ease of movement and emotional wellbeing. When somebody is badly injured, for example through a serious burn, we need to do everything we can to heal the wound, but also to restore them to normal life.”