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Prof David Becker
Department of Cell & Developmental Biology, UCL
Gower Street
  • Honorary Professor
  • Cell & Developmental Biology
  • Div of Biosciences
  • Faculty of Life Sciences
Research Summary
Wound healing 

We have shown that cell-cell communication through gap junctions plays a pivotal role in the wound healing process. In response to injury, the expression of different connexins is dynamically regulated at the transcriptional and translational level. We have found that actively down-regulating the gap junction protein Cx43, by applying an antisense gel to the wound, dramatically speeds up the process of wound healing whilst reducing inflammation and scarring. This patented approach is effective in promoting healing in a number of tissue injuries, from skin to cornea.

Diabetic wound healing is notoriously slow and often results in the formation of chronic wounds. We have found that in response to injury, the dynamic response of connexins in diabetic skin appears to be completely different from that of normal skin, with Cx43 turning on rather than off thereby generating different communication characteristics in the injured tissue. Preventing the abnormal turn on of Cx43 with out antisense gel restores healing rates to normal.  It also highlights connexin expression as a potential therapeutic target for diabetic wound healing.

Our Biotech company, CoDaTherapeutics is now developing this antisense which is performing well in Phase 2 clinical trials treating venous leg ulcers.

Research in the lab is investigating the roles of different connexins in chronic wound healing and fibrosis with the aim of understanding why these wounds fail to heal and searching for new therapeutic targets.

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