Sickle Cell Ulcers
Sickle cell disease is an inherited disorder in which the body’s red blood cells take on a sickle shape, instead of being round like normal red blood cells. Their abnormal shape impairs their ability to transport oxygen molecules, and can also cause the red blood cells to become stuck in the blood vessels, blocking them and preventing normal blood flow. When this type of blockage occurs, it can reduce the skin’s ability to heal. As a result, people with sickle cell disease are prone to chronic, slow-healing ulcers. While sickle cell ulcers can occur in many parts of the body, they most commonly affect the legs.
At the Winthrop Wound Healing Center, we have found that the use of integrated regenerative medicine therapies can help stimulate sickle cell ulcers to heal more quickly. In particular, sickle cells ulcers appear to benefit significantly from treatment with human skin equivalent, also known as cellular therapy (which our wound research has shown to contain endogenous stem cells, in addition to skin cells).