Treating the whole not the hole: necessary coupling of technologies for diabetic foot ulcer treatment

Trends Mol Med. 2014 Mar;20(3):137-42. doi: 10.1016/j.molmed.2013.12.004. Epub 2014 Jan 31.


Type 2 diabetes is the epidemic of our generation, and diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs) are a major complication. Although DFU formation itself can indicate disease progression, the failure to effectively treat ulcers contributes further to a decay in patient quality of life and increased mortality. Herein we discuss the development of next-generation DFU therapies including: (i) topical growth factors, (ii) scaffolds, and (iii) cellular therapies. Individually these therapies have yielded measurable but modest improvements in DFU repair. Because DFUs arise as a result of multiple biochemical deficiencies, a singular treatment modality is unlikely to be effective. Next-generation DFU technologies must be combined to address effectively the complex underlying pathology and enable reliable DFU repair.

Keywords: diabetes; diabetic foot ulcers; growth factors; mesenchymal stem/stromal cells; scaffolds.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications*
  • Diabetic Foot / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / therapeutic use
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology
  • Tissue Scaffolds
  • Wound Healing*


  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins