According to a recent article in Live Science, human amniotic membrane biological patches can be used to treat superficial wounds such as partial thickness burn wounds, diabetic foot ulcers, venous leg ulcers and bed sores.
Experimentation and trials on this use for amniotic membranes have been going on for years. Due to the increased incidence of diabetes, diabetic ulcers have become a major concern worldwide, affecting 15 per cent of people with diabetes during their lifetime. This could lead to more than 70,000 amputations per year, a lower limb is lost to diabetes every 20 seconds. Diabetic ulcers develop because of the persistently high blood sugar levels that damage the nerves over time, called neuropathy, and this interferes with the body’s normal protective mechanisms. The disease tends to dry out the skin, leading to cuts. Poor blood circulation causes the broken skin to take longer to heal, increasing the risk of infection. Once ulcers set in, they can be difficult to heal, sometimes persisting for years.
To save these limbs for clinically ill diabetes patients, medical professionals are now looking at human amniotic membrane dressings.
Various groups have performed clinical trials , and more recently, a trial was conducted by researchers looking at patients with diabetic ulcers ranging from 2, and 20 cm across. These ulcers had thoroughly permeated the skin layers and remained open after a month. The researchers treated the patients with either amniotic membranes or traditional wound care. 62 % of the patient wounds treated with the amniotic membrane product had a 40 % closure rate in one month, compared to 32 % who had received traditional treatments.
The human amniotic membrane is one of the thickest membranes in the human body at 0.02 – 0.5 mm thick, covering the placenta. The membrane is completely denuded from cells leaving only the collagen-rich scaffold. The denuded dehydrated membrane terminally sterilised by a validated irradiation sterilisation process, rendering it easy to use with a 5-year shelf life at room temperature.