Foot ulcer healing rate jumps 50% in first-ever trial to show successful drug treatment of diabetic wounds

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A new drug nearly doubled the diabetic foot-ulcer healing rate in a recent clinical trial, which researchers are touting as a potential breakthrough in wound care.

The trial involved nearly 200 patients at two medical centers in Italy, all of whom had Wagner grade 1 or 2 foot ulcers. One group received polydeoxyribonucleotide injections for eight weeks, and the other group received a placebo. Polydeoxyribonucleotide activates the adenosine A(₂A) receptor, in a process that has been associated with quelling inflammation.

The group that received the polydeoxyribonucleotide experienced a 37% rate of complete healing, while the placebo group had a 19% rate, according to the researchers. Complete healing was achieved more quickly in the treatment group and the ulcer area was significantly reduced compared with the control group, they found.

“This approach could revolutionize the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers – a main cause of hospital admissions in the developed world,” said study author Francesco Squadrito, M.D., of the University of Messina in Gazzi Messina, Italy.

The study is the first time that a pharmacological intervention has been shown to improve diabetic wound healing, Squadrito noted.

Current best practices such as hyperbaric chamber treatment and devices to offload pressure are often used to treat diabetic foot ulcers in long-term care settings. Better care reduced diabetes leg amputations by nearly 50% between 2000 and 2010, a recent study found.

Findings of the Italian trial appear online ahead of print in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. 

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