Use of Wnt Inhibitors for Wound Healing


Since the discovery of antibiotics in the 1940' and 1950's no signi

ficant advances have been made in the treatment of wounds. One of the most formidable challenges to effecting tissue repair and regeneration is to direct the orchestrated proliferation and organization of multiple cell types to recapitulate structure and function of the damaged organ. Pampee Young, Ethan Lee and colleagues have data to show that modulations of tissue resident stem cells represent a central mechanism that impacts repair and regeneration.


Vanderbilt researchers recently performed a small molecule screen that identi

fied a drug effective at improving wound healing. This small molecule is already FDA approved for treatment of pinworms through oral administration. When tested topically, it was also capable of healing a 2mM visible hole punch through mice ears and in dorsal deep tissue defects faster than control treatments. The repaired tissue showed repair of cartilage, muscle and soft tissue. Additionally the new epidermis showed similar histology to uninjured epidermis including new hair follicles,  sebaceous glands, and new cartilage. Further research has delineated the molecular mode of action for this small molecule.

Wound-care products cost the U.S. healthcare system over $7 billion in 2007. And the advanced wound-care market was expected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of just over 6%. Although small molecule treatment would be a subset of this market, topical use of a previously FDA approved small molecule has the potential for a low risk entry into a growth industry. This treatment could have diverse would healing applications, from inclusion in battle

field gauze and topical ointment to treatment in concert with hyperbaric therapy.


• Previously FDA approved small molecule

• Decreased healing time

• Epidermis showed little to no scarring

• Hair follicles were also restored

• Regenerates multiple tissue types and may be ideal for deep injuries involving muscle and cartilage

• Easily adoptable to current treatment technologies

Patent status

Provisional patents have been

Ethan LeePampee Young
Licensing manager: 
Mike Villalobos

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