Marvel Comics' popular character Wolverine is known for his ability to heal from nearly any wound. Researchers at Drexel University in Philadelphia have developed an ultrasound technology aimed at giving patients who suffer from chronic wounds, an extra boost in recovering from the injuries.
And while it's not anywhere near the level of Wolverine's powers (he is a fictional character after all), initial studies show promising results for the device. In the study, researchers treated patients suffering from venous ulcers, which account for 80% of all chronic wounds found on lower extremities and affect approximately 500,000 U.S. patients annually, a number that’s expected to increase as obesity rates climb. It’s estimated that treatment for venous ulcers costs the U.S. healthcare system over $1 billion dollars per year.
Researchers applied the device to patients for 15 to 45 minutes, once a week, while they were seeing their physician for a routine appointment. The end results was improved healing compared to the control group that did not receive treatment.
I interviewed some of the researchers involved in this project, and while there are definite plans to try and get this technology into the market place, there is also a sense of urgency.
Joshua Samuels, one of the researchers in the study spoke passionately about the technology and perhaps gave one of the most heartfelt interviews that I have had in my six years here at Medical Device Daily. I think his quote pretty much sums up the pure unbridled mission of med-tech.
“It’s always slow moving getting it from the research lab to the market place,” Samuels said. “What I would really like to see is the device get used by patients as quick as possible. It’s always tough when you do biomedical research knowing that it could take six to seven years to get onto the market place. I know that there are regulations and I know that everything has to go through its due process, but that’s something I would really like to see – to get to patients so that it can help them.”
Here's hoping that happens.