This Phase I SBIR, responding to RFA-AG-12-009 entitled "T1 Translational Research on Aging" from the NIA, explores novel cell-based therapeutic approaches to the treatment of pressure ulcers and full thickness skin wounds in the elderly. Although it is well established that the prevention of pressure ulcers requires labor- intensive nursing care, patients in assisted living centers and nursing homes remain at high risk for developing pressure ulcers. In fact, over 70% of pressure ulcers occur in Americans over the age of 70 and their hospital costs exceed $11 billion annually. Current treatment of pressure ulcers relies primarily on surgical debridement, hyperbaric oxygen, growth factors, and negative pressure devices. This "proof of principle" study will use a murine model to test LaCell's hypothesis that adipose-derived stromal/stem cell (ASC) therapy will accelerate and improve pressure ulcer healing in the elderly. Studies will be conducted in young (3-4 month) and old (24 month) C57Bl/6 male mice using leptin receptor deficient (db/db) obese diabetic mice (3-4 month) as positive controls. Bilateral full thickness skin wounds will be created dorsally on each mouse. These will be protected by a silicon splint in the shape of a donut to prevent spontaneous retraction of the wound edges. This will allow for accurate measurements of the wound epithelialization and healing rates. Adipose stromal/stem cells (ASC) will be isolated from C57Bl/6 mice transgenic for the green fluorescent protein (GFP). In each animal, GFP+ ASC will be injected into the wound bed of one full thickness defect while the corresponding wound, injected with phosphate buffered saline, will serve as a control. Groups of animals will be harvested after 1, 3, and 10 days post-operatively. Quantitative experimental outcomes will address the mechanisms underlying the ASC impact on repair that will include rates of epithelialization, wound closure, cytokine and matrix metalloproteinase expression, and immune cell infiltration. These outcomes will determine the feasibility and efficacy of ASC based therapies to accelerate the repair of pressure ulcers and full thickness skin wounds in the elderly. Phase I will lay the foundation for future pharmacokinetic and toxicological testing of both murine and human ASC in Phase II studies. Additionally, they will provide the basis for detailed pre-IND discussions with the Food and Drug Administration. LaCell LLC is a biotechnology company founded by leading investigators and inventors in the application of adipose stromal/stem cells to regenerative medicine. As consultants, LaCell has enlisted the assistance of experts in the field of plastic surgery and wound healing.
The elderly are at high risk for the development of pressure ulcers, a debilitating and life threatening condition that remains a major health care burden in the U.S. LaCell proposes to develop an adipose stromal/stem cell therapy for pressure ulcers. This approach has the potential to accelerate and improve the rate of wound closure and long-term recovery. The outcomes of this focused "proof of principle" pre-clinical study have relevance to a clinical issue of unique importance to geriatric medicine in the U.S. and abroad. With its background in adipose stromal/stem cell biotechnology, LaCell and its consultants are uniquely positioned to address this unmet medical need.