Many wounds aren’t a big deal — generally, all you need to do is clean them, apply bandages and let them heal. However, chronic wounds that don’t heal on their own affect more than 8 million people in the United States and represent more than $20 billion in management costs each year.
Chronic wounds are exacerbated by infection, obesity, aging and other factors. They also increase the risk of amputation and mortality for people with diabetes, which affects 1 in 10 Americans, with 1 in 3 currently experiencing pre-diabetes.
“These seemingly simple injuries thus pose a substantial, imminent health risk,” says Jordan Yaron, an assistant research professor in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University. “Yet, we are struggling to get a handle on poorly healing wounds. I want to determine how we turn a chronic, non-healing wound into a healthy, healing wound.”