Monday, April 14, 2008
Medical Reports: Avoid Amputations
One of the biggest worries for diabetics is getting a foot ulcer that won't heal, which could lead to amputation. Now, a new treatment being researched right here in Miami could increase wound healing, and, as Seven's Richard Lemus shows us, it could help diabetics Avoid Amputations.
WSVN -- As a type 2 diabetic, Iliana Gonzalez has a long to-do list.
Every morning she pricks her finger, takes her meds and tries to eat right and get exercise.
Iliana Gonzalez: "You don't want to have your blood sugar too high or too low."
Her biggest priority is her taking care of her feet. She tries to avoid getting cuts, which could lead to a foot ulcer.
Iliana Gonzalez: "If they are wet after you take a bath, you have to dry them."
Like most diabetics, her worst fear is a wound that won't heal.
Iliana Gonzalez: "It's very scary to know you might get a wound and get infected and that you might get your foot amputated."
Dr. Robert Kirsner, dermatologist, University of Miami: "Right now about a million Americans have foot ulcers, and about 100,000 undergo amputations. If you have an amputation, in five years, about half of the patients that have amputations are dead."
Now, a new treatment in development may significantly reduce amputations in diabetic patients.
Dermatologist Robert Kirsner at the University of Miami is part of a nationwide clinical trial testing a product that could stimulate and speed up wound healing.
Dr. Robert Kirsner: "We apply this toothpaste consistency medication to the wound, and then we put a wound dressing on and give them specialized shoes to keep them from walking on the wound."
The gel that's injected into the wound is called Excellarate.
It uses DNA to help stimulate blood vessels and new tissue formation in wounds that aren't healing.
Dr. Robert Kirsner: "These DNA, this gene, go into the cells and make them healthier, stronger, better able to produce the healing factor that you and I already make."
Patients in the study will get either one or two treatments.
And, so far, most of the wounds treated with Excellarate have healed.
Dr. Robert Kirsner: "The patients who have had this treatment have non-healing wounds and, in a period of six to seven weeks, their wounds healed."
Dr. Robert Kirsner: "The outcome may have a profound outcome on patients with diabetic foot ulcers, with the goal that eventually we will eradicate all amputations from diabetes."
Iliana is doing everything she can to prevent a foot ulcer.
She's thankful that, one day soon, there could be a treatment that will help save limbs and lives.
Iliana Gonzalez: "Having all this research going on, it will be fantastic for people like me who don't want to have their foot amputated."
Two hundred and fifty patients with diabetic foot ulcers will be enrolled in the study. You must be at least 18 years old to join.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
To take part in the clinical trial, please call 305-547-4282.
Dr. Robert Kirsner
University of Miami School of Medicine
1321 NW 14th St. #504
Miami, FL 33136