Treatment could reduce severity of injuries that limit mobility and damage nerves.
The Pentagon is seeking biomedical technology that can intervene during the wound healing process and prevent the formation of burn scars, according to a small business solicitation.
If successfully developed, the technology would aid soldiers who have deep tissue burn injuries and contractures, which occur when skin tightens and normal connective tissue is replaced with inelastic fibrous tissue. Some contractures can inhibit the mobility of muscles and tendons, as well as cause nerve damage, the solicitation notes.
Candidates that make it to the final phase of the research are expected to develop plans to get Food and Drug Administration approval to release the product to market.
There are 450,000 burn injuries that require medical attention in the U.S. each year, the document notes. Burn injuries also plague about five to 10 percent of combat casualties not returned to duty within 72 hours, the solicitation notes.