Slow or troubled healing processes are one of the many negative outcomes of diabetes and many other human diseases. Diabetes patients not only show deficient tissue healing of sharp wounds but they are also more prone to suffer from chronic wounds, such as ulcers in the lower limbs.

Looking for ways to improve the healing process in diabetes patients, the research group for the Traslacional Investigation of Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering of the “Universidad de Alcalá” managed by Doctor Juan Manuel Bellón and Doctor Julia Buján and working in collaboration with the CSIC have developed an experimental model that releases growth hormone (GH) in a gradual and controlled manner directly over the wounded area. This improves the healing process, with the added advantage that the localised application method avoids the negative side effects that a systemic administration of the hormone could raise.

This therapy has been successfully tested on diabetic lab rats and the results of the study have been published in the Journal of biomedical materials research part b-applied biomaterials. For this study a millimetre thick biomaterial that has been developed by a team of the CSIC was used as support and vector for the growth hormone, and it was applied directly over the wound to be treated. As the material decays, the GH is released at a controlled rate, which aids the regeneration of skin and tissues. The scientists from the “Universidad de Alcalá” responsible for this study have verified that the healing of a sample wound in a normal rat is complete after an average of 15 days. In the case of the subjects affected by diabetes, showing a deficient scaring process, once this hormonal therapy was applied they showed improved tissue repair reaching the same healing as a healthy rat in 30 days. The slow and controlled release of the GH stimulated the growth and differentiation process and abundant collagen secretion, which reduces the healing time and improves the quality of the regenerated tissue.

The research group for the traslacional investigation of biomaterials and tissue engineering is formed by a wide range of specialists, such as surgeons, histologists, biologists, chemists and pharmacists from the Surgery department and from the Medical specialities department. This team has dedicated itself for over two decades to the investigation and research of tissues and means for their repair. This interdisciplinary scientific area is known as “Tissue Engineering”, and aims to repair, substitute, maintain, or improve particular functions of organs and tissues. To achieve this objective the research group works with living cells and their extracellular space, or even create biological substitutes that can be implanted in the body.

- Universidad de Alcalá