Follow-up Studies Ongoing
Slade and colleagues are now assessing its safety and conducting studies to determine exactly how it works. "The FDA wants us to better define what it is that is happening when the cells get on the surface of the wound," he says. "We know it works, we just need to know more about how."
According to Slade, the sprayed-on cells help the tissue learn how to regenerate itself. If the findings are confirmed by follow-up studies, "it's going to be an off-the-shelf product." No information is available about cost at this time.
The need for new products to treat these wounds is tremendous, Matthias Augustin, MD, says in an email. "A significant number of patients fail to respond to any therapy."
Augustin, the director of the Institute for Health Services Research in Dermatology and Nursing at the University Clinics of Hamburg in Hamburg, Germany, wrote an editorial accompanying the new study.
"New treatments with improved healing and healing rates are needed to reduce the burden of ulcers for patients, [and] while more research is needed I believe that this product could ultimately make a significant difference for these patients."
John Lantis, MD, is one of the investigators on the study. "This could be used in any place that artificial skin is needed, such as diabetic foot ulcers," says Lantis, who is the chief of the vascular surgery division at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital in New York City.
It will not be a stand-alone treatment. "If you have a diabetic foot ulcer, you will still have to wear special diabetic shoes," he says. "It's not like you can just spray it on and go about your business. It will always be used in conjunction with current standard of care."
It seems to perform better than any other artificial skin products out there or in the pipeline, Lantis says.
Other Uses for Spray-on Skin Therapy
Maja Zaric, MD, says there may well be a role for this product. She is an interventional cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "The spray can be applied in various doses and it is very user-friendly, unlike a skin graft."