Synthetic peptide inspired by Komodo dragon blood speeds wound healing

Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis).jpg Image of a Komodo dragon By Charlesjsharp - Own work, from Sharp Photography, sharpphotography, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Researchers at George Mason University have created a synthetic version of a peptide found in the blood of Komodo dragons (Varanus komodoensis). They dubbed the synthetic peptide DRGN-1. Living up to its name, DRGN-1 proved to be pretty tough against microbes (Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus) as well as biofilms. Bacteria stick together to create biofilms that attach to surfaces and help to protect themselves during an infection. Even infected wounds healed faster when they were treated with DRGN-1 and the layers of skin were rehabilitated. Given the positive outcomes of this study, the hope is to create a topical treatment for wound healing.


EMC Chung, SN Dean, CN Propst, BM Bishop, ML van Hoek. Komodo dragon-inspired synthetic peptide DRGN-1 promotes wound-healing of a mixed-biofilm infected wound. npj Biofilms and Microbiomes 3, Article number: 9 (2017). doi:10.1038/s41522-017-0017-2

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