Cutaneous Scarring: Basic Science, Current Treatments, and Future Directions

Clement D. Marshall, Michael S. Hu, Tripp Leavitt, Leandra A. Barnes, H. Peter Lorenz, Michael T. Longaker

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

137 Scopus citations


Significance: Scarring of the skin from burns, surgery, and injury constitutes a major burden on the healthcare system. Patients affected by major scars, particularly children, suffer from long-term functional and psychological problems. Recent Advances: Scarring in humans is the end result of the wound healing process, which has evolved to rapidly repair injuries. Wound healing and scar formation are well described on the cellular and molecular levels, but truly effective molecular or cell-based antiscarring treatments still do not exist. Recent discoveries have clarified the role of skin stem cells and fibroblasts in the regeneration of injuries and formation of scar. Critical Issues: It will be important to show that new advances in the stem cell and fibroblast biology of scarring can be translated into therapies that prevent and reduce scarring in humans without major side effects. Future Directions: Novel therapies involving the use of purified human cells as well as agents that target specific cells and modulate the immune response to injury are currently undergoing testing. In the basic science realm, researchers continue to refine our understanding of the role that particular cell types play in the development of scar.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-45
Number of pages17
JournalAdvances in Wound Care
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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