Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, havesynthesized a peptide that may aid in wound healing, bonerepair and artificial organ implantations.

The peptide, a 15-amino acid fragment of collagen called P-15,promotes cell migration and growth.

Rajendra S. Bhatnagar, Ph.D., director of the effort to find P-15,proposes that coating implants with P-15 will cause cells tomigrate into the implant and grow there. The problem now isthat cells are not recruited to the site of bone or tissue damage,he said.

"P-15 is possibly the first demonstration of a cell-bindingdomain other than the fibronectin RGD binding domain," saidBhatnagar. P-15 is about 6,000 times as potent as RGD inpromoting cell migration and growth, he said.

Bhatnagar, who described P-15 at last month's InternationalAssociation for Dental Research meeting in Acapulco, toldBioWorld that UCSF has filed patent applications covering thepeptide and its uses.

At least two companies in the Bay Area are interested in P-15,he said. Although Bhatnagar would not divulge their names, hesaid one is interested in using P-15 for wound repair and thesecond for dental applications.

During normal repair, collagen binds to collagen receptors oncells, thereby triggering the cells to grow. When similar cellsare exposed to a gel coated with P-15, the cells migrate into thegel within 36 hours, said Bhatnagar. By 72 hours, the cells havegrown to fill the gel matrix.

Bhatnagar has begun a collaboration to test the efficacy of P-15as a wound-healing agent in sheep and is looking at morecompounds with P-15-like activity. Bhatnagar also plans todevelop P-15-like compounds that interact with collagenreceptors to block the migration and the growth of cancer cells.052291C0LLAGEN

-- Carol Talkington Verser, Ph.D. Special to BioWorld

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.