A study, published in the Journal Materials Today Communications, reveals that sugar can treat the poor-healing of skin wounds such as those caused by diabetes and chronic ulcers. Researchers from the University of Sheffield and COMSATS Institute of Technology conducted the respective research. They have found sugar molecules can potentially aid skin cells in healing wounds by the development of blood vessels.
The formation of new vessels or angiogenesis is a critical phenomenon. It allows the active transport of nutrients and oxygen to the wounded areas as well as other body parts. This means that the new blood vessels formed around the injury, aid healing via elevating the transport of oxygen and nutrients. These nutrients allow the body to actively generate new skin cells to heal the affected area.
For the study, the scientists added sugar to a hydrogel gauze in order to stimulate the formation of new blood vessels. This method is relatively simple and cheap than most of the traditional methods of treating wounds. Moreover, it also addresses the cases of non-healing wounds. Note, non-healing wounds are commonly found in old age, poor blood supply, and diabetes.
Sheila MacNeil, one of the co-authors of the study, mentions that it is a common worldwide observation that people live longer but unfortunately experience more non-healing skin wounds associated with age, poor blood supply, and diabetes. Sheila is a professor at the University of Sheffield as well.
She further added that the new skin healing technique, using simple sugars, promises to aid the healing of wounds in a simple way. This means that patients would require less treatment. Moreover, clinicians can treat more patients and the National healthcare systems can make significant savings.
What does the study say?
This effective new procedure uses a specific group of sugars to strengthen the wound healing. The sugar (2-deoxy-D-ribose) occurs naturally occurs and stimulates the production of new blood vessels effectively.
The researchers used three wound samples for the study.
- The first sample was treated using a normal hydrogel.
- The second sample was treated using a hydrogel treated with the sugar 2-deoxy-D-ribose.
- The third sample wasn’t treated and served as control.
The researchers observed a quick healing performance by the sample containing the 2-deoxy-D-ribose, during the healing period. The respective wound was closed around the 17th day of the treatment.
MacNeil also mentioned the significance of this new technique and its relative benefits over other traditional means of healing wounds.
Not only is this technique safer and cheaper for the patients but also advantageous for the clinicians. It allows them to serve more people and the healthcare systems can make significant savings as well.
People often look down on sugar consumption considering it a crucial cause of diabetes, obesity or both. However, this research notifies a beneficial part of consuming sugar. It serves as an important step in creating simple, direct and cheap dressings to treat chronic ulcers and injuries, difficult to heal, especially among the older people.