New wound gel to treat foot ulcers

A new treatment that could help heal horses and humans alike.


An international research team, led by the University of Canterbury‘s Professor Rudi Marquez, has developed a new wound gel that promises horses and humans. This new wound gel will be used to treat foot ulcers and kick-starts tissue regeneration.

As scientists noted, it could have a significant impact on healing horses and humans alike.

To create this gel, scientists used a protein that helps the skin inside the human mouth to heal quickly. The protein also shows promising results on a warm wet surface.

Using the protein, scientists designed a small molecule that can do the same thing.

Marquez said, “[The molecule is] almost like a starter engine, it gets [the healing process] going… gives it a push, gets it moving, and then it stops.”

“[It doesn’t] cause excess granulation or scar formation… it just closes a wound but prevents the formation of that lump of flesh.”

“The gel has already helped to heal the wounds of diabetic mice, and trials on horses have had very promising results so far.”

Horses legs do not have a strong blood supply, and this heal slowly. People with severe diabetes have a similar weakness to the skin.

Scientists are now working to obtain enough data from horses to apply for clinical trials.

Marquez said“Part of the reason is that drug companies shy away from doing anything with human foot ulcers because they are hard to mimic in trials.”

“I work at a university, so my main drive is not making money. My main drive is coming up with something that works.”