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Speeding up wound healing in diabetic foot ulcers

Project summary

Scientists know that levels of a particular protein (called PTP1B) found in immune cells are higher in diabetic foot ulcers. Professor Delibegovic will find out if reducing the activity of PTP1B can speed up the healing process in foot ulcers.

This research could lead to the development of new treatments and reduce the risk of lower-limb amputations.

Background to research

Diabetic foot ulcers are a common complication of long-term diabetes, with around 20 per cent of people with diabetes developing them.

Foot ulcers can lead to lengthy hospital stays and, in some cases, amputations. It’s therefore really important that we find better treatments.

We know that a type of immune cell, known as macrophages, play a key role in wound healing following injury and infection. Levels of a protein inside these immune cells, called PTP1B, are higher in people with diabetes, and at the site of foot ulcers. 

Research aims

Professor Delibegovic and her team want to study PTP1B and understand how it might be involved in wound healing. 

They’ll test if reducing the activity of this protein in mice and in human immune cells, collected from people with and without diabetic foot ulcers, can speed up the healing process.

Professor Delibegovic will also test if this treatment could be applied via a cream directly to the wound. 

Potential benefit to people with diabetes

This research has the potential to find new treatment strategies for diabetic foot ulcers. More effective treatments could reduce the risk of amputations and improve the health, and quality of life, of people with diabetes.

This project has been adopted by:

Diabetes UK local groups: Orkney

Organisations: Chellaram Foundation
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