Carocell Bio is revolutionising the treatment of inflammatory disease with its peptide-based, next-generation approach to promoting healthier healing and skin. Its pipeline of products, meant for topical application to the skin, is designed to interrupt the inflammatory cascade – potentially providing safer and novel therapeutic options for patients. This includes preventing traumatic scarring following tumour resection as part of cancer treatment, the treatment of burns, and AD (eczema).
Cancer – tumour resection
Over half of cancer patients will need surgery as a part of their treatment.
Cancer surgery often involves tumour resection, where the tumour and its surrounding tissues are removed from the body to treat the patient. This means that almost all patients who have surgery will have a scar. As surgery involves damaging the skin, the scars from tumour resection can have uncomfortable or even painful side effects. They can also act as constant, unwanted reminders of a patient’s cancer treatment. Significant psychological impact has also been reported for patients with scarring and burns, in addition to the existing physical injury and trauma.
Currently, nothing prevents the formation of a scar, and current treatments vary in their effectiveness and can have side effects. Scars don’t only have consequences related to their cosmetic appearance. They can cause pulling and pain and can impact movement or function – for example decreased flexibility around a joint like a knee or elbow. Additional surgery might also be required if they negatively impact a patient’s quality of life.
Burns that take over 21 days to heal will result in a scar. The inflammation related to burn wounds contributes to the issue by delaying healing. Unfortunately, burn tissue only has 80% of the (tensile) strength of healthy, normal tissue and has a different visual, structural and physical properties. It is therefore weaker, more inflexible, more vulnerable. Pathological scars might result from constant inflammation, which can be bulky and aesthetically unsightly, causing disfigurement. In joint areas, such scarring can cause mobility issues.
A burn is a type of injury to the skin caused by heat, electricity, chemicals, friction, or radiation. The depth of burn is important in determining its management and current treatment depends on the severity of the burn. Burn tissue, when healed, forms a ‘bird’s nest’ of collagen, in contrast to healthy skin which forms sheets of collagen which has mobility and allows for normal function. The disordered collagen found in scars resulting from burns does not have the same function.
Current scar prevention therapies use of non-invasive scar management strategies such as silicone-based products, hypoallergenic microporous tapes, pressure garments and manual or mechanical scar massage. Semi-invasive scar management techniques can include microneedling and dermarolling, shockwave therapy, intralesional corticosteroid injections and laser resurfacing. Invasive scar surgery offers operative reconstruction for most severe and restrictive scarring.
Eczema (atopic dermatitis)
Atopic dermatitis (AD), also known as eczema, is a disease of unknown origin that usually starts in early infancy and can cause itching, lesions, dry skin as well as ‘lichenification’ of the skin, which involves thickening and an increase in skin marking. This can cause psychological trauma to patients, in addition to constant discomfort and pain, especially where AD affects the face.
AD is the most common skin disease in children, affecting approximately 15% – 20% of children and 1% – 3% of adults (Nutten S, 2015; Eichenfield LF et al, 2014). The onset of the disease is often by 5 years of age, with the highest incidence occurring between the ages of 3 and 6 months although it can occur at any age (Eichenfield LF et al, 2014, Hanifin JM et al, 2007).
Early diagnosis and treatment are essential to avoid complications of AD and improve quality of life (Eichenfield LF et al, 2014).
The current treatments for AD carry significant safety risks, which limit their application to mainly moderate-to-severe patients.