Investigating the Genetic Makeup of Non-Healing Wounds

Another important aspect of understanding characteristics of wounds that fail to heal involves analyzing their genetic makeup. Wound healing is a complex, multi-step process that involves highly coordinated interactions among cell regulatory pathways. Every step in these pathways is regulated by gene activity. Modern methods of genome-wide analysis enable the simultaneous evaluation of thousands of genes, and these methods can be used to identify groups of genes that are involved in the wound healing process. If we can identify genes that are specifically associated with healing deficits in chronic wounds, then we can start to develop targeted therapies to improve wound repair.

Key Findings to Date

Our research findings about the genetic characteristics of non-healing wounds include the following:

Studying Potential Genetic Biomarkers

An NIH-funded project, on which Dr. Brem is a co-principal investigator, is currently underway to validate β-catenin and c-myc as markers of wound healing in diabetic foot ulcers, and to identify additional cellular markers that can help us identify wounds that are not likely to respond to standard wound treatment and need aggressive targeted treatment.

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