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A New Treatment for Diabetic Ulcers

A tissue repair drug could help heal dangerous foot ulcers in diabetics, according to a new study.

The study, accepted for publication in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM), involved two groups of people with who had the ulcers.

Foot ulcers, a common complication from diabetes, can lead to hospitalization and lower limb amputation. But up to 85 percent of amputations can be avoided when ulcers are prevented from forming or are treated successfully, said one of the study’s authors, Francesco Squadrito, MD, of the University of Messina in Gazzi Messina, Italy.

“Foot ulcers are a dangerous and expensive complication for people with diabetes, and current treatments such as hyperbaric oxygen therapy are costly and can have side effects,” Squadrito said. “Our study showed for the first time that a pharmacological approach can improve wound healing in people with diabetes.”

The 216 participants received either the tissue repair drug polydeoxyribonucleotide (PDRN) or a placebo. They were given injections for eight week and monitored for an additional four.

After two months, 37 percent of the patients who were treated with PDRN had their ulcers completely closed, compared with nearly 19 percent of the patients who received the placebo. Study subjects reported few side effects from PDRN, Squadrito said.

“This approach could revolutionize the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers – a main cause of hospital admissions in the developed world,” he said. “An estimated 382 million people worldwide have diabetes, and it is crucial to find effective treatment options for hard-to-heal ulcers and other complications facing millions of patients.”

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