Taking a New Approach

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By: Radha McLean

The U.S. National Institutes of Health recently awarded a $1 million grant to a research team in Scotland to begin clinical trials of a new method to treat nonhealing wounds such as diabetic ulcers and pressure sores, according to a release from the University of Dundee.

The funding, which will be paid out over three years, was awarded to the husband-and-wife research team of Drs. Seth and Ana Schor from the University of Dundee. The two researchers have discovered a molecule called migration stimulating factor (MSF) that, in laboratory tests, seems to begin the healing process for wounds.

The molecule, normally found in the cells of children, does not appear in adults with wounds that have poor blood supply, such as diabetic ulcers.

“For some reason it’s not present in those wounds that do not heal,” Dr. Seth Schor told Reuters Health. “It’s a question of putting it on and kick-starting the wound healing process.”

Clinical trials could begin in 18 months, according to Schor. If trials are successful, the molecule might be used as a gel that would be applied to wounds under a dressing or an artificial skin graft.

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