Lifestyle & Belief

Leg ulcers treated with 'spray-on skin,' scientists say


Women in the Colombian town of Barbacoas went on their "Crossed Legs Strike" last Thursday.


Carlos Alvarez

US and Canadian scientists have developed a "spray-on skin" treatment that could aid in healing.

The spray was tested on 228 people with leg ulcers, painful open wounds that can last for months. The findings, published in the Lancet, show that ulcers treated with the spray were more likely to heal and did so faster, BBC News reported.

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Patients also had their wounds bound with compression bandages, the standard treatment.

"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," researcher Herbert Slade of Healthpoint Biotherapeutics in Texas told AFP.

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Leg ulcers are hard to treat. Standard treatment, the compression bandages, heals only about 70 percent of ulcers after six months. Other options include taking skin from elsewhere on the body and grafting it to the wound, according to BBC News.

The spray-on skin coats the ulcer with donated skin cells and blood-clotting proteins, trying to coax the body into healing itself.

Patients who used the spray every 14 days showed the greatest improvement, according to US News & World Report.

The findings "offer great hope for patients with chronic wounds," said Dr. Matthias Augustin, a German researcher who wrote a commentary accompanying the study.