Using a skin substitute as a biological dressing may be a promising treatment for hard-to-heal chronic venous and mixed ulcers unresponsive to compression therapy.

In a prospective uncontrolled case study, five patients with an ankle brachial index greater than 0.5 who had venous or mixed ulcers lasting more than 6 months who were unresponsive to compression therapy, received compression therapy combined with a weekly application of self-assembled skin substitute (SASS), a wound dressing produced from the patient’s own skin cells. At weekly follow-ups, researchers recorded wound size, skin aspect, pain, drainage and percentage of wound healing. Photos were taken to help assess ulcer evolution.

Overall, researchers treated 14 ulcers. They found a mean of 6.7 SASS depositions by ulcer was required for healing. Two ulcers developed a minor wound infection, which were treated with oral antibiotics. Two additional ulcers recurred; one ulcer healed with a second course of treatment and the other ulcer was treated with local wound care, according to study results. Average time to cure all ulcers was 7 weeks.

“This biological bandage is much more than a physical barrier. The cells secrete molecules that speed up healing by helping to set natural healing processes in motion. It would be hard to imagine a model closer to the human body’s natural physiology,” Francois A. Auger, MD, director of the LOEX tissue engineering and regenerative medicine laboratory at Universit├ęte; Laval, Qu├ębec City, Canada, stated in a press release. “This is a last recourse once all other treatment options have been exhausted.”

For more information:

Boa O. Adv Skin Wound Care. 2013;26:400-409.

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.

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