Studies take aim at diabetic foot ulcers

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Nursing home residents with diabetic foot ulcers face a heightened risk for additional problems, including foot amputations. Researchers at the University of Arizona Medical Center are recruiting patients for two studies that could reduce such risks.

The first investigation involves testing a spray-on skin solution. University of Arizona Professor of Surgery David Armstrong, M.D., said the spray-on skin could be a wound care game changer.

“What this new technology may offer us is a way to heal these wounds faster and more consistently,” he said. Ongoing studies suggest that the spray may stimulate residents' natural skin cells to send out healing messages.

“The faster we heal these wounds, the less likely these patients are to have subsequent problems like infections and blood poisonings and gangrene and other really chronic complications,” Armstrong added.

Patients also are being recruited for a study of a new protein that might reduce chronic inflammation in diabetic foot ulcers. The product  is an oligonucleotide, a promising type of treatment that modulates gap junctions between cells to manage inflammation and improve healing rates.