A low cost effective and nanometer sized drug to treat chronic wounds such as diabetic foot ulcers or burns has been developed.
Diabetes is a rapidly growing medical problem affecting close to 3 percent of the world's population. Poor blood circulation arising from diabetes often results in skin wounds which do not heal, causing pain, infection and at times amputation of limbs.
Several proteins, called growth factors, have been found to speed up the healing process, however purifying these growth factor proteins is very expensive, and they do not last long on the injured site.
This behavior greatly simplifies protein purification, making it very inexpensive to produce. It also enables the growth factor to be confined and to remain at the burn or wound site. The scientists refer to their discovery as robotic, since just as robots are machines that respond to their environment by carrying out a specific activity, so too this protein they have developed responds and reacts to heat.
The experimental drug, which ha been developed by the research group as a topical ointment, has been patented and thus far has been used to treat chronic wounds in diabetic mice, dramatically increasing the healing rate. The goal is to proceed to human clinical trials at some future date after future tests and refinements.