London: A `spray-on skin` which coats an injury with a layer of skin cells could help healing, a new study has revealed.
The study carried out by US and Canadian researchers, tested the spray on 228 people with leg ulcers, which are painful open wounds that can last for months.
The findings showed that ulcers treated with the spray were more likely to heal faster.
Experts said faster healing could help people save money despite the cost of the spray.
Leg ulcers are hard to treat. The best treatment, compression bandages, generally heals only about 70 percent of ulcers after six months. Other options include taking skin from some other part of the body and grafting it over the wound.
The spray on the other hand, puts a coating of donated skin cells and blood-clotting proteins over the ulcer.
In the study, patients who were given the spray-on-skin every 14 days showed maximum improvement.
The researchers said that the size of the wound “began to decrease rapidly” as soon as the treatment started. In the patients who used the spray, 70 percent were healed after three months compared with 46 percent who received other treatment.
“The treatment we tested in this study has the potential to vastly improve recovery times and overall recovery from leg ulcers, without the need for a skin graft,” the BBC quoted one of the scientists involved, Dr Herbert Slade, as saying.
“This means not only that the patient doesn`t acquire a new wound where the graft is taken from, but also that the spray-on solution can be available as soon as required - skin grafts take a certain amount of time to prepare, which exposes the patient to further discomfort and risk of infection,” he said.
The study was undertaken mainly to test the safety of the spray and the best dose to use, further studies will decide if it is a practical treatment for leg ulcers.
Leg ulcers are generally caused by high blood pressure in the veins of the legs, which damages the skin, causing it to break down and turn into an open wound.
“A dressing or other application may have a positive effect on the wound for a period of time but ultimately if the underlying condition is not managed the leg will break down again,” Irene Anderson, a lecturer in leg ulcer theory at the University of Hertfordshire, said.
“We do know that leg ulcers are becoming increasingly complex and when using the range of treatments available there needs to be clear evidence that there will be a beneficial effect to ensure cost effectiveness and to make sure that patients are not given false expectations of a cure,” she added.
The study was recently published in the Lancet.