Genetically Altered Maggots Could Aid Healing.


Scientists are really working hard these days it seems, they have just added a new development to their list; genetically altered maggots which could help human wounds heal much better.

Some scientists from North Carolina state University and Massey University in New Zealand have genetically engineered a green bottle fly larva that can produce and secrete a human growth factor, which helps to promote cell growth and wound healing. Usually maggots, as we know, eat dead flesh and leave the healthy ones. The lab raised green bottle fly larvae are used in medicine, they are applied to non-healing wounds like diabetic foot ulcers to clean wounds, remove dead tissues and secrete antimicrobial factors.

However, researchers decided to see if they could create maggots with enhanced wound-healing ability, so they engineered the maggots which then produced growth factor -BB (PDGF-BB). They did this using two techniques, first was triggering by heat which wasn’t successful because no PDGF-BB was detected. The second was engineering and by raising them on a diet that lacked the antibiotic tetracycline. This yielded a better result as the growth factor was detected in both their secretions and excretion.

We see this as a proof-of-principle study for the future development of engineered L. sericata strains that express a variety of growth factors and anti-microbial peptides with the long-term aim of developing a cost-effective means for wound treatment that could save people from amputation and other harmful effects of diabetes.”

Max Scott
Entomology Professor and lead study author.

This low-cost treatment could help people all over the world especially those in countries where incomes are low.

PDGF-BB Known as Platelet-derived growth factor, is a bioactive protein intended for use in cell culture application. It elicits multifunctional action with a variety of cells, it regulate cell growth and division and plays a significant role in blood vessel formation.

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