Topical Gel Effective For Chronic Wound Healing Developed

Scientists have created a topical gel that facilitates the healing of chronic skin wounds. Made from a class of common blood pressure medications the gel works by blocking inflammation pathways.

The researchers, an international team lead by Johns Hopkins, are seeking FDA approval to use the gel for treatment of chronic skin wounds in people with diabetes, and older individuals.

Chronic wounds are injuries than do not heal in a timely manner, increasing the chances of infection and tissue breakdown. The problem may be owed, in those with diabetes and in older adults, to a dysfunction in the skin’s renin-angiotensin system (RAS)—a system that plays a significant role in wound healing.

The researchers developed gel formulas made from the hypertension drugs losartan and valsartan. These drugs block the cell receptors for angiotensin when applied to wounds, increasing blood flow to the affected tissue.

Using mice, it was first determined the most accelerated rate of healing occurred when the gel was applied one week after wound infliction, during the remodeling phase of tissue healing. Then, various concentrations of losartan and valsartan gel were used to treat young diabetic and older mice during the remodeling phase.

Results revealed valsartan was more effective than losartan, and half the mice receiving treatments of one percent valsartan achieved complete wound healing. Ten percent of the animals treated with a placebo healed as well.

To follow up their work, the investigators tried one percent valsartan gel on aged, diabetic pigs with skin wounds since pig skin is similar to human skin. The wounds of all 12 pigs were closed (healed) within two months.

“Now that we've proven efficacy in animals, we're moving on to the next stage of FDA-required testing in humans. Hopefully, this medication will be available for public use in a few years, if further research bears out our results,” said researcher Jeremy Walston, M.D., professor of medicine.

Source: Johns Hopkins Medicine
Photo credit: Johns Hopkins Medicine

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