The main objective of a new project that the Universidad Austral de Chile is currently undertaking with Corfo’s InnovaChile program is to develop a prototype artificial skin that can be used to cure patients with diabetic foot and skin ulcers in an efficient and profitable way.
It is expected that the initiative will have a significant impact on public health, where every year 110,000 cases of patients with chronic lesions that are difficult to cure are reported. Of them, 70% correspond to venous ulcers and diabetic foot.
In addition, an average of 23,000 patients every year do not respond positively to any type of treatment and end up with complications. Of them, 3,000 cases end up suffering from diabetic ulcers and have to undergo amputations as the only solution.
Furthermore, 50% of them will subsequently suffer a second amputation and around half of these patients die after this new intervention, with costs to the state of around US$ 17.8 million per year.
Thus, the Project by the Universidad Austral seeks to improve the quality of life for people who suffer from diabetes, an illness that grows every day not just in Chile but in the world. “Many people who currently suffer from this type of skin lesion, which sometimes even lead to amputation, will be able to access an effective treatment that is currently not available. This is the way to do things: uniting institutions to improve people’s quality of life,” explains Carlos Amtmann, director of the Corfo’s Valdivia office.
The official also explained that the Chilean state is concerned about these patients, which is why “it has allocated resources to this revolutionary project because we believe that science and technology must be at the service of the people.”
In addition to pursuing the development of an optimized prototype artificial skin and undertaking a comparative study of this new therapy with the traditional treatment, the research also implies other advances, such as a project to protect and to store the knowledge acquired on the issue so it can then be patented and offered as a technological package.