According to researchers a drug used to remove iron from the body has the potential to fight the problem of diabetes-related poor wound healing.
The researchers are from Stanford University School of Medicine and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
Poor wound healing is diabetes' cruelest complications, which could lead to amputation of patients' toes, feet, and even legs.
The drug, deferoxamine, helped diabetic mice heal small cuts 10 days faster than those who did not receive treatment, said the researchers.
The team is now working to arrange human trials for deferoxamine.
And the findings could help doctors combat such diabetic complications as foot ulcers, an "unmet medical need of gigantic proportions," said Dr. Geoffrey Gurtner.
The researchers have attributed poor wound healing among diabetes patients to the fact that diabetic tissue fails to reconnect oxygen-deprived areas to the bloodstream with new vessels.
However, they did not know why the vessels do not form.
Now, the researchers have said that the culprit is a transcription factor that can't thrive in the high-sugar environment of diabetic tissue.
Their potential treatment, deferoxamine, is already Food and Drug Administration-approved for the management of chronic iron-overload disorders.
Focusing on healing mechanisms, the researcher found in mice that the animals treated with the drug healed in 13 days as compared to 23 days in their untreated counterparts.
"By understanding the science of why is it that diabetics generate wounds more readily and don't heal wounds, we're able to start to target those mechanisms," said Gurtner.