According to a recent article in Livescience, 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 membrane has been going on for years. Due to the increased incidence of diabetes, diabetic ulcers have become a major concern worldwide, affecting 15 percent of people with diabetes during their lifetime. This could lead to more than 70,000 amputations per year; a lower limb lost to diabetes every 20 seconds. Diabetic ulcers develop because of the persistent 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. The 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 to clinical ill diabetes patients, medical professionals are now looking at human amniotic membrane dressings.
Clinical studies have been performed by various groups and more recently a trial was performed by researchers, looking at patients with diabetic ulcers ranging from 2 and 20 cm’s across. These ulcers had completely permeated the skin layers and remained open after a month. The researchers treated the patients with either amniotic membrane or by 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.