Press Release

Tissue Repair Drug Helps Heal Diabetic Foot Ulcers

February 25, 2014

Study first to find a drug can improve healing rates in people at risk for amputation

Washington, DC—Patients were twice as likely to have a diabetic foot ulcer heal within eight weeks when they were treated with a tissue repair drug versus a placebo, according to new research accepted for publication in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM).

Foot ulcers are a common complication from diabetes than can lead to hospitalization and lower limb amputation. In 2006, about 65,700 non-traumatic lower-limb amputations were performed in people with diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Up to 85 percent of amputations can be avoided when ulcers are prevented from forming or are treated successfully, said one of the study’s authors, Francesco Squadrito, MD, of the University of Messina in Gazzi Messina, Italy.

“Foot ulcers are a dangerous and expensive complication for people with diabetes, and current treatments such as hyperbaric oxygen therapy are costly and can have side effects,” Squadrito said. “Our study showed for the first time that a pharmacological approach can improve wound healing in people with diabetes.”

In the prospective randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trial, 216 participants with diabetic foot ulcers free of visible infection were assigned to receive either the tissue repair drug polydeoxyribonucleotide (PDRN) or a placebo. Participants received injections of either PDRN or a placebo for eight weeks and were monitored for an additional four weeks for any change in the ulcer.

After two months, 37 percent of the patients who were treated with PDRN had their ulcers completely closed, compared with nearly 19 percent of the patients who received the placebo. Study subjects reported few side effects from PDRN, Squadrito said.

“This approach could revolutionize the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers – a main cause of hospital admissions in the developed world,” he said. “An estimated 382 million people worldwide have diabetes, and it is crucial to find effective treatment options for hard-to-heal ulcers and other complications facing millions of patients.”

Other authors of the study include: A. Bitto, D. Altavilla, V. Arcoraci, G. De Caridi, G. Pallio, C. Sterrantino, L. Minutoli, A. Saitta, M. Vaccaro and D. Cucinotta of the University of Messina; M. E. De Feo of Cardarelli Hospital in Naples, Italy; and S. Corrao of the University of Palermo in Italy.

The study, “The Effect of PDRN, An Adenosine Receptor A2A Agonist, on the Healing of Chronic Diabetic Foot Ulcers: Results of a Clinical Trial,” was published online, ahead of print.

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Endocrinologists are at the core of solving the most pressing health problems of our time, from diabetes and obesity to infertility, bone health, and hormone-related cancers. The Endocrine Society is the world’s oldest and largest organization of scientists devoted to hormone research and physicians who care for people with hormone-related conditions.

The Society has more than 18,000 members, including scientists, physicians, educators, nurses and students in 122 countries. To learn more about the Society and the field of endocrinology, visit our site at www.endocrine.org. Follow us on Twitter at @TheEndoSociety and @EndoMedia.


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Colleen Williams Manager, Public Relations Phone: (202)-971-3611 cwilliams@endocrine.org

Jenni Glenn Gingery Associate Director, Communications and Media Relations Phone: (202)-971-3655 jgingery@endocrine.org

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