Cell-free skin graft heals chronic leg ulcers

10 May 2013

A new type of skin graft produced by NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) Tissue Services has healed the chronic leg ulcers of more than half of patients involved in the first trial.

The new product, known as dCELL Human Dermis, is made from skin donated by deceased tissue donors and processed to remove all the donor cells using Tissue Regenix’ dCELL technology.

The product is not rejected by the patients’ immune system. It maintains the essential structure of normal skin and serves as an ideal scaffold for the patients’ cells to migrate into and regenerate living, functional skin tissue.

Lower limb ulcers, which are often secondary to other conditions such as poor circulation and diabetes, are a common age-related condition which is increasing in frequency with an aging and increasingly unfit population.

Professor John Kearney, NHS Blood and Transplant Tissue Services
Head of Research and Development said: “All of these wounds are painful, debilitating and reduce the patient’s quality of life. In some cases they can lead to the patient requiring full or partial amputation. The study showed that dCELL Human Dermis treatment is capable of completely healing chronic leg ulcers in some patients and decreases the size of the wound in others. This evidence offers hope that the treatment will benefit patients in a clinical setting in future.

“Care and treatment of chronic leg ulcers is estimated to consume 1% of the NHS total budget¹. Our research and development of a treatment that can heal these wounds may lead to better use of NHS resources and greatly improve patients’ quality of life.”

Antony Odell, Managing Director Tissue Regenix, said: “This dCELL Dermis clinical treatment has the potential to help many patients and address the £400 million annual bill that the NHS pays to treat chronic wounds of the lower leg. Research firm Kalorama estimates the global market for chronic and acute wound care could be worth $21 billion by 2015 (from $16.8 billion in 2012). The successful trial and development of this NHSBT Dermis treatment is a critical part of our ongoing plans to commercialise treatments developed using our dCELL technology.”

The trial was undertaken at University Hospital South Manchester. Further studies in collaboration with Tissue Regenix are planned for later this year. The NHSBT dCELL Human Dermis graft will be available from NHSBT Tissue Services from Summer 2013.


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