22 June: 'Old dogs for new tricks-The use of salbutamol to regenerate skin, reducing skin wound fibrosis/scars' - Professor Christine Pullar

Posted by dmrbp1 at Dec 06, 2016 01:50 PM |
Part of the Professorial Inaugural Lecture series

'Old dogs for new tricks-The use of salbutamol to regenerate skin, reducing skin wound fibrosis/scars'

Professor Christine Pullar, MCB

This lecture was held on Thursday 22 June 2017, 12pm, FKMLT in Henry Wellcome Building.

Lecture synopsis

One hundred and ten million primary surgical incisions occur globally every year, with those made in areas of high tension particularly prone to scarring. Scarring is the result of the natural process of wound repair, generated by excessive cell behaviour in the healing wound. Depending on the body location, wound scars can be emotionally (face) and physically (joint) debilitating.

This is especially true for some patients who suffer significant darkening (hyperpigmentation) of the skin at the site of damage, making any injury particularly traumatic. In addition, the care of wound scars places a heavy financial burden on healthcare systems worldwide. An effective scar prevention treatment would benefit the millions of patients with skin injury, enhancing the patient's health and quality of life. There are currently no proven treatments available to prevent wound scarring.

Salbutamol (Sal) is a safe and well-tolerated pharmaceutical, which has been a mainstay of asthma therapy in the UK since 1968. Research in the Pullar lab has shown that Sal can modulate wound repair processes. Uniquely, when Sal is applied to a skin wound site, it alters the way the wound heals, curbing excessive cell behaviour and moving the healing process away from scarring and towards normal skin regeneration.
The global scar treatment market has been estimated to be valued at US$ 12,607M and this is forecast to grow exponentially. Pullar's intention is to deliver a clinical and cost-effective solution that supports reimbursement through the NHS or equivalent International public Healthcare Systems. UoL has a robust commercialization plan and exit strategy in place and has a portfolio of licensing partners with interest in the portfolio.

In addition to the benefit to patients, this treatment would also benefit surgeons and the NHS. Patients would heal better, leave hospital sooner and require less scar revision surgery, which would provide significant cost savings.


Christine graduated with a B.Sc. (hons) in Cell Biology and Biochemistry from the University of York and a PhD in Molecular Immunology from the University of Sheffield. Her case PhD was supported by DPC (Diagnostic Products Corp.) in the field of Allergy Diagnostics, with her patent-protected work generating a diagnostic ELISA test for allergy screening. Christine continued her work in this field for 2 years at Hoffman La Roche in Nutley NJ USA and then moved to University of Oxford to work on the mechanisms underpinning heart transplant rejection in the lab of Professor Kathryn Wood. After 2 years she moved to California and worked as the Senior Biologist in a start up company, Surgica Corp., developing coatings to extend the life of stents. After a year, Christine moved back to academia and accepted a post at the University of California Davis to work on wound healing mechanisms. Within 18 months Christine was awarded an NIH early career award and started to work on the role of beta-adrenergic receptors in wound repair.

In Oct 2006, Christine accepted a lectureship at the University of Leicester where she established her lab developing treatments to heal chronic wounds and prevent/reduce wound scarring. Within 10 years, she was promoted to Senior Lecturer and most recently, Professor, supported by the success of her skin scar prevention programme which is supported by two granted patent families and has raised in excess of £3 million of research funding from The British Skin Foundation, Medicare, The Wellcome Trust and the MRC. Christine is also the CMBSP Impact and Enterprise Academic Lead.

Her patented anti-scar treatment, salbutamol, has passed all pre-clinical safety assessments and will enter the first in human clinical trial in October 2017.


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