Umbilical cord is shown to help chronic wounds heal

The cUC treatments may help cut care costs, researchers say.
The cUC treatments may help cut care costs, researchers say.

Cryopreserved umbilical cord, or cUC, allografts healed nearly 80% of chronic wounds in a retrospective review of a Texas veterans clinic.

Researchers examined the charts of 57 patients with 64 chronic wounds, all of them treated at the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System in Temple, TX.

Principal investigator, podiatrist Mark Couture, debrided the wounds in his clinic or in an operating room, then placed the cUC directly over the wound bed and secured it with a non-adherent layer and moist gauze or sterile dressing. Additional debridement and cUC were given, if needed, weekly.

In all, 51 wounds, or 79.7%, healed completely, with an average of 3.43 applications. According to the July issue of Wounds, 51% of the wounds had healed by four weeks.

Amniotic membrane is the glycosaminoglycan-rich outer lining of the umbilical cord. 

It has been used since the early 1900s for skin grafts. Recently, it has played an increasing role in treatment of eye wounds, chemical burns and leg ulcers. Studies have shown it delivers anti-inflammatory and anti-scarring properties.

Couture says cUC for wound care could “improve quality of life, but also positively impact rising healthcare costs associated with long-term treatment.” The total cost of chronic wound treatment in the U.S. exceeds $50 billion annually, the study noted.