Scientists have discovered new insights into a molecule which is part of the body’s tissue repair system and could help treat non-healing wounds and injuries, such as diabetic foot.
The number of limbs amputated because of diabetes is at an all-time high of 20 each day in England alone. Intense research around the world is being carried out to discover new treatments that could help avoid such life-changing operations and reduce medical costs for society.
A study led by the universities of Exeter and Bath, and published in the journal Antioxidants and Redox Signalling has made great strides in understanding how the molecule deoxyribose-1-phosphate stimulates the formation of new blood vessels.
It has long been known that the formation of new blood vessels is critical during the body’s response to tissue damage. Now, thanks to this project jointly funded by Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Medical Research Council, the understanding of how deoxyribose-1-phosphate works could open new avenues of treatment in encouraging the body to heal, a discipline known as regenerative medicine.
Dr Giordano Pula, of the University of Exeter Medical School, led the team. He said: “We’re very excited to provide new insights into how this crucial molecule works to stimulate the formation of blood vessels in people. We now hope to be able to use this knowledge to trigger the formation of new blood vessels in patients where this is required for tissue regeneration, such as diabetic foot.”
Dr Pula’s team is now planning to focus their investigation on the ability to stimulate skin repair by increasing the vascularisation of wounds and non-healing ulcers. The team hopes this work will lead to new applications for treating conditions such as diabetic foot.
BBSRC invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.
Funded by government, BBSRC invested £469 million in world-class bioscience in 2016-17. We support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.