Plastic Surgery Research Manchester - Research Overview

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The Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery Research Group based at the University of Manchester is actively involved in investigating fundamental issues in abnormal wound healing and tissue fibrosis. A variety of methods are utilised that range from the most advanced molecular techniques through classical biological methods as well as bioinformatics computational techniques for data analysis. Key features are a well developed interface between various clinical and basic disciplines, a healthy collaboration with Industry, state-of-the-art well equipped laboratories and clinics with highly motivated staff and students. Tissue fibrosis is considered to be under genetic control. Dupuytren’s disease, keloid scarring and breast capsular contracture present themselves as ideal models for investigating genetic susceptibility to scar formation and fibrosis. Keloids are benign dermal collagenous lesions that arise in the reticular layer of the dermis during a prolonged wound healing process in individuals with a genetic predisposition. keloid disease (KD) may cause hugely disfiguring and symptomatic lesions in affected individuals with little hope of successful treatment as it appears to be highly recurrent. The sufferers of KD face physical, aesthetic, psychological and social consequences that may culminate in substantial emotional and financial costs. Keloids are thought to occur only in humans. The rate of occurrence of keloid scars is reported to be higher in the higher pigmented skin population. The increased familial clustering in KD, its increased prevalence in certain races and in identical twins suggests a strong genetic predisposition to its formation. Understanding the genetic basis of KD, DD and breast capsular contracture may provide future prognostic and diagnostic advice to patients and help to develop novel therapeutic regimes for treatment of tissue fibrosis. The ultimate aim of our project is the development and setting up of: Genetic tests for early detection of genetic susceptibility to tissue fibrosis, e.g. scarring in suspected individuals and the ability to offer localised therapy for treatment of the above disorders.