Diabetes is a major health concern in the United States today. Statistically, there's a high probability that you know someone who has some form of diabetes - and an even higher probability that you yourself have prediabetes, a condition that, left untreated, can lead you develop the condition. According to the American Diabetes Association, 37.3 million Americans had the disease in 2019, and the CDC reports that a further 96 million - or one in 3 adults - have prediabetes.
Diabetes is a chronic health condition that affects the body's ability to regulate blood sugar levels. Sugar (glucose) is food for your cells; it is vitally important to your body, but too much of it can be bad.
Individuals with the disease face increased risk of developing a variety of health complications, but one of the most common - and most feared - is diabetic foot infections. These infections develop quickly, resulting in pain, lack of mobility, and, in their most severe form, require partial or complete amputation of the lower limb. Though there are several medications available to treat the condition, existing medications target infections that are already advanced.
With 1.4 million Americans diagnosed every year, diabetes is increasing at an alarming rate. As the number of cases rises, so too does the need for a better solution to diabetic foot infection. In response to this need, the Center for Clinical Research and Development at Spring Heights Hospital has partnered with Aspira to research new ways of diagnosing and treating diabetic foot infections earlier than with medications currently available, reducing risk as well as pain and suffering for the affected individual.
Diabetic foot infections are caused by damage to nerves and blood vessels in the extremities due to high levels of glucose in the blood. This damage can lead to various complications, including loss of feeling due to neuropathy (nerve damage) and poor circulation, which can slow the healing process. Numbness in the lower extremities means people with diabetes are more likely to leave a cut or blister untreated, an issue exacerbated by the slow healing rate. Small sores can quickly develop into major infections. According to the University of Madison - Wisconsin's Health Innovation Program, each year roughly 20 million people develop diabetic foot ulcers - approximately 60% of cases progress to infections.
Currently, there are only three approved antibiotics by the US FDA for Diabetic Foot Infection; of those, only one can be taken orally. Even with the currently approved drugs, the resolution success rate of those with Diabetic Foot Infections is lower than what would be preferred, and the healing rate is even lower at around 50% after a year of treatment. In the worst cases, this infection can even cause death. About 15% of those diagnosed with the infection die even though they were being treated for it. In addition to these statistics, the current approved medication is usually taken once a patient has already progressed to moderate or severe infection.
The clinical trial at play here at Heights Hospital uses two different medications, given to the body intravenously (using an IV) as well as orally (via pills). There are certain criteria each patient must fall into in order to qualify for the trial. The trial's purpose is to see if this new medication can help those adults already diagnosed with diabetic foot infection.
The margin of success of this trial cannot yet be analyzed fully as the trial is still ongoing, but the staff at Heights Hospital and those we have partnered with at Aspira are here to make sure that the trial is done safely and fairly for all participants. So if you or someone you know suffers from a diabetic foot infection, check out our website or call us to see if you qualify!