Press Release August 12, 2013

MTI awards funding for Jackson Laboratory research in diabetic wound healing

ar Harbor, Maine—The Maine Technology Institute has awarded The Jackson Laboratory a $25,000 grant to study a growth factor that could accelerate wound healing.

Obese or diabetic patients are more likely than healthy people to develop wounds and ulcers, and also take longer to heal. About 6.5 million Americans suffer from chronic wounds, and about 25 percent of diabetic patients develop foot ulcers, which often result in the need for amputation and disability.

With the increase in obesity and diabetes, as well as an aging population, public health experts project a significant increase in chronic wounds and ulcers. Moreover, currently available treatments for wounds and scar healing are not effective for all patients.

The laboratory of Robert Braun, Ph.D., Jackson professor and vice president for research, discovered the wound-healing properties of a specific growth factor.

Bob Braun, Ph.D.Braun explains that wound healing involves four steps: hemostasis, inflammation, cell proliferation and remodeling to form new skin. "Our preliminary results show that this particular growth factor stimulates the synthesis of extracellular matrix components—the scaffolding of new skin—and blood vessel formation on the matrix," he says.

Braun notes, "These are early-stage data, and we appreciate this funding from the Maine Technology Institute to study this process further. There’s a growing need to develop effective new therapies to treat this rising demand and to lower overall healthcare costs. Advancing wound healing would help to restore mobility faster in these patients and would allow a faster release from the hospital."

The MTI seed grant will fund experiments to determine the proper dosage of the growth factor in a diabetic mouse model, and to test formulations to establish preclinical data in support of patent applications and to attract commercial partners for further development.

The Jackson Laboratory is an independent, nonprofit biomedical research institution based in Bar Harbor, Maine, with a facility in Sacramento, Calif., and a new genomic medicine institute in Farmington, Conn. Its mission is to discover precise genomic solutions for disease and empower the global biomedical community in the shared quest to improve human health.