Multimillion-dollar NIH grant awarded to develop advanced treatment for diabetic foot ulcers

A team of researchers from the Terasaki Institute for Biomedical Innovation (TIBI) and the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) has been awarded a multimillion-dollar grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop a superior, multi-pronged wound treatment for diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs).

DFUs remain a significant complication resulting from dysregulated internal pathophysiological conditions in diabetic patients. The unresolved diabetic wounds affect patients' quality of life and can result in amputations or death. More than 6.5 million individuals suffer from diabetic wounds worldwide. Therefore, efforts toward improving current treatment modalities via an innovative approach may promote rapid healing and increased quality of life in patients. Treatment options include growth factors, anti-bacterial agents, protease inhibitors, and anti-inflammatories. Unfortunately, currently available dressings with tiny pores limit granulation tissue formation, prevent cell migration, increase infection rates, and promote scar formation.

The microarchitecture of the dressing plays a pivotal role in rapid wound healing."

Johnson V. John, Ph.D., TIBI scientist and principal investigator

A more porous microstructure accelerates the migration of cells to the wound site to regenerate tissue and promote vascularization, or formation of blood vessels, for fast wound repair and closure. TIBI's treatment approach contains a specific microarchitecture that accelerates wound healing, as well as novel small protein molecules, or peptides, to improve vascularization and infection control.

"The wound dressing proposed here offers superior features that will help millions of diabetic patients with chronic wounds," said TIBI's Director and CEO, Ali Khademhosseini, Ph.D. "It will be a more effective, versatile, less costly, and self-administered treatment which will not only increase compliance, but will greatly improve patients' quality of life."


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