Faster Wound Healing in Patients with Diabetes

One of the most common and debilitating problems with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes is slowed rate of would healing. When a wound is left untreated it can lead to infection, amputation, and in extreme cases even death. Diabetes is actually the leading reason for non-traumatic lower limb amputation in the United States. Unfortunately, there are very limited treatments that are currently available to aid quicker would healing in people with diabetes. A new study that aims to use opioid receptors has introduced a new treatment strategy that could improve wound healing rates. Opioid receptors are responsible for replicating cells in the outer layers of the skin and in blood vessels. Dr. Particia J. McLaughlin, the leader of the study began to test if blocking the opioid receptors at the wound side could increase cell replication and speed up wound closure in people with diabetes. Dr. Mclaughlin used naltrexone, a drug used for the treatment of alcohol and drug addiction, to block the activity of opioid receptors in rats. After only a few days, Dr. Mclaughlin and the rest of her teams noticed that the rats treated with naltrexone had wounds that closed noticeable faster than those who received other or no treatment. Much more research is required in order to apply these results in humans. Hopefully with new treatments such as these, people will have to suffer less as a result of diabetes.