What is the project about?
A chronic leg ulcer is a long-lasting sore that takes more than four to six weeks to heal. RAFT’s wound healing research is currently focused on the modification of an existing biomaterial (developed at RAFT), to find a solution to effectively heal chronic leg ulcers by:
– changing the activity within the wound, to return it to a normal healing state
– using the re-engineered biomaterial to re-establish blood vessel formation within the wound.
What benefits will the project bring to patients?
In the UK, 3.5 in 1000 individuals are affected by chronic leg ulcers. The number increases to 20 in 1000 in people over the age of 80. The treatment of these ulcers exerts a substantial financial burden on the NHS, costing up to £800 million a year. People suffering from chronic leg ulcers often lead an impaired quality of life. Current treatment is a multi-step procedure involving the use of continual graduated compression therapy, along with a combination of several antibiotics and dressings. If treatment is not successful, lower limb amputation may be required.
RAFT’s solution is to develop a one-step treatment using a novel biomaterial to repair the function and appearance of the affected tissue. Such a treatment would be less time consuming for NHS staff to carry out, therefore bringing a financial benefit in addition to the improved wound healing experienced by the patient.
Where is this project heading?
This project is in the early phase of conceptualisation and optimisation. Currently, a range of prototypes are being fabricated and tested by Dr Vaibhav Sharma (featured above, speaking about RAFT’s wound healing research), the lead scientist for this project. The next step involves selecting a prototype followed by rigorous testing in the laboratory, before taking the product into the clinical phase of research.