A new study released today in STEM CELLS Translational Medicine shows promise of a major breakthrough in healing chronic foot ulcers resulting from diabetes. The study, by researchers at the University of California, Davis, is the first to demonstrate how a bioengineered scaffold made up of human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) combined with timolol — a drug commonly used to treat glaucoma — improved healing and decreased inflammation in the wounds of diabetic mice by as much as 75 percent over the control groups.
Chronic foot ulcers are some of the most dangerous and common complications of diabetes, affecting up to a quarter of the 25 million people living with diabetes in the United States alone, according to the American Diabetes Association. The association also predicts that 30 percent of these cases will eventually lead to amputation. Even more alarming is the projected five-year mortality rate of those who undergo an amputation — 48 percent, a statistic on par with colon cancer.