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"Promising" stem cell treatment for diabetic wounds

Foot ulceration will affect up to 25 per cent of people with diabetes and may result in amputation.

NEW RESEARCH HAS found that stem cell treatment for diabetic wounds is “very promising”, the National University of Galway has said.

The research is published in Diabetes, the official journal of the American Diabetes Association, and shows that using adult stem cells to treat diabetic wounds has “generated some very promising findings”

Stem cell

Diabetic patients have an impaired ability to heal wounds, so there is a critical need to develop new treatments to improve healing. This is particularly the case with foot wounds, as foot ulceration will affect up to 25 per cent of people suffering from diabetes during their lives. The ulceration can result in amputation.

The researchers found that their work showed that a particular type of stem cell, known as the mesenchymal stem cell (MSC), could increase wound healing when applied together with a biomaterial made from collagen.

Lead-author on the research paper Dr Aonghus O’Loughlin is funded by Molecular Medicine Ireland to work in the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at National University of Ireland Galway and Galway University Hospitals.

He is collaborating with Professor Timothy O’Brien, Director of REMEDI, to develop new ways to increase healing of diabetic wounds.

Professor O’Brien said of their work:

This data will now allow us proceed to apply for approval to carry out first in human studies of this therapeutic approach. We are currently preparing the regulatory submission to undertake a human clinical trial. Meanwhile, part of the funding needed to pursue the human clinical trial has been received from Diabetes Ireland.

He added that MSC’s have many attractive therapeutic properties, and can be isolated from adults and are easy to grow in the laboratory.

It has been shown in Galway and by other scientists that they release special factors that can help new blood vessels to grow. Increasing blood flow is a key step in wound healing.

REMEDI is a Science Foundation Ireland-funded research centre, led by National University of Ireland Galway, with partners in University College Cork and NUI Maynooth, and is the leading centre in the area of stem cell and regenerative medicine in Ireland.

Here is Professor Timothy O’Brien speaking about the use of stem cells in treating diabetic wounds:


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