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A "spray-on skin" which coats a wound with a layer of skin cells could help healing, according to US and Canadian researchers. The spray was tested on 228 people with leg ulcers, which are painful open wounds that can last for months. The findings, published in the Lancet, showed that ulcers treated with the spray were more likely to heal and did so more quickly.
Leg ulcers are hard to treat. The best treatment, compression bandages, will heal only about 70% of ulcers after six months. Other options include taking skin from somewhere else on the body and grafting it over the wound. Instead the spray puts a coating of donated skin cells and blood-clotting proteins over the ulcer.
One of the scientists involved, Dr Herbert Slade, said: "The treatment we tested in this study has the potential to vastly improve recovery times and overall recovery from leg ulcers, without the need for a skin graft. "This means not only that the patient doesn't acquire a new wound where the graft is taken from, but also that the spray-on solution can be available as soon as required - skin grafts take a certain amount of time to prepare, which exposes the patient to further discomfort and risk of infection."
"We do know that leg ulcers are becoming increasingly complex and when using the range of treatments available there needs to be clear evidence that there will be a beneficial effect to ensure cost effectiveness and to make sure that patients are not given false expectations of a cure."