A spray that can cover a wound with a layer of skin cells has been tested by US and Canadian researchers and the results of their study have been published in the Lancet.
The new "spray on skin" was tested on 228 people who had leg ulcers. The study showed that the wounds healed better and faster, in those who were treated with the spray. It has been proposed that, despite its cost, the spray could actually reduce treatment money.
AdvertisementLeg ulcers are painful open wounds that are hard to treat and take months to heal. They are caused when high blood pressure in the leg veins damages the skin leading to its break down, resulting in an open wound. When the wound is dressed it may provide relief, but only for a short while. If the underlying condition remains unaddressed, the wound is likely to open again!
Up until now, compression bandages have been considered as the best mode of treatment for leg ulcers but, sadly, they are able to heal only 70% of the wounds, and that too after a period of six months.
The other effective treatment option is to perform a skin graft, which includes taking skin from another part of the body and grafting it over the wounded part. Now, instead of the skin graft the new spray can actually put a layer of donated skin cells and proteins (that aid in blood clotting) over the ulcerous wound.
While carrying out the study it was found that patients on whom the spray was applied every 14 days displayed the biggest improvement. In these patients, the size of the wound was seen to reduce rapidly as soon as the treatment began. Among patients in whom the spray was used, 70% were healed after three months compared to the 46% who received other modes of treatments.
According to one of the scientists involved in this study, the skin spray has the potential to shorten recovery times and the overall recovery rate without the need for a skin graft. This avoids the need for a fresh wound to be formed, as it happens in case of a graft. Also, the spray-on skin solution is made available on demand. The risk of infection that is present in case of graft can also be avoided when skin sprays are used.
The present study mostly concentrated on the safety of the spray and the optimal dose to be used. Treating leg ulcers is complex, and studies must establish the cost effectiveness of any treatment while refraining from providing false expectations to patients. It is important to establish the practicality of applying the skin spray in treating leg ulcers. Meanwhile, compression would be the main treatment for leg ulcers.