Growth factors are endogenous signaling molecules that regulate cellular responses required for wound healing processes such as migration, proliferation, and differentiation. However, exogenous application of growth factors has limited effectiveness in clinical settings due to their low in vivo stability, restricted absorption through skin around wound lesions, elimination by exudation prior to reaching the wound area, and other unwanted side effects. Sophisticated systems to control the spatio-temporal delivery of growth factors are required for the effective and safe use of growth factors as regenerative treatments in clinical practice, such as biomaterial-based drug delivery systems (DDSs). The current review describes the roles of growth factors in wound healing, their clinical applications for the treatment of chronic wounds, and advances in growth factor-loaded DDSs for enhanced wound healing, focusing on micro- and nano-particulate systems, scaffolds, hydrogels, and other miscellaneous systems.
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