Few treatments are currently available to reduce scarring, which can be unsightly and can restrict movement. Researchers are now trying to develop a therapeutic agent that can reverse scarring of skin that was previously injured. Priyanka Toshniwal, a graduate student in Swaminathan Iyer’s group at the University of Western Australia, presented a poster on the work at the ACS national meeting last week. The UWA researchers—in collaboration with colleagues at the Fiona Wood Foundation, Royal Perth Hospital Burns Unit, and Pharmaxis, all in Australia—are studying compounds that inhibit the enzyme lysyl oxidase. When skin becomes damaged, lysyl oxidase catalyzes cross-linking of the protein collagen, forming scars that close the wound. Imaging and biochemical tests on human cells treated with lysyl oxidase inhibitors showed that the agents reduce collagen cross-linking, which could make skin look more normal. The researchers are now studying the efficacy of inhibitors in animal models and hope to start human trials of topical nanoformulations in a few years. Those who could benefit from such treatments include patients with burns, raised scars called keloids, and a hand deformity called Dupuytren’s contracture, the researchers say.