Spray-On Skin Offers New Way To Heal Wounds

By Amir Khan on August 3, 2012 10:32 AM EDT

Leg Ulcer
A revolutionary "spray-on skin," which coats a wound with a layer of skin cells, may be the newest way to treat stubborn wounds, according to a new study, published in the journal the Lancet. (Photo: Creative Commons)

A revolutionary "spray-on skin," which coats a wound with a layer of skin cells, may be the newest way to treat stubborn wounds, according to a new study, published in the journal the Lancet. Researchers used the spray to treat leg ulcers, a common ailment that involves a shallow, slow-healing wound on the ankle or leg.

Researchers tested the spray on 228 people with leg ulcers, and found that people treated with the spray were more likely to heal and did so faster than people not treated with the spray.

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"The treatment we tested in this study has the potential to vastly improve recovery times and overall recovery from leg ulcers without the need for a skin graft," Herbert Slade, study author and researcher with Healthpoint Biotherapeutics in Texas, told Fox News.

Leg ulcers are typically difficult to treat. The standard treatment, compression bandages, only heals 70 percent of the ulcers after six months. If compression bandages do not work, skin grafts, taking skin from elsewhere on the body and grafting it over the wound, is used.

The spray instead takes a coating of donated cells and sprays it over the wound with a clotting factor to heal it. The largest benefit was seen when the spray was administered once every 14 days, according to the study.

"The treatment we tested in this study has the potential to vastly improve recovery times and overall recovery from leg ulcers, without the need for a skin graft," Slade told BBC News. "This means not only that the patient doesn't acquire a new wound where the graft is taken from, but also that the spray-on solution can be available as soon as required - skin grafts take a certain amount of time to prepare, which exposes the patient to further discomfort and risk of infection."

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