Heal Thyself: Autologous Blood in Wound Healing

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Chronic wounds can be debilitating and detrimental for patients’ quality of life, and the longer they remain unhealed, the more difficult it is for healing to begin. In order to offer patients an effective and engaging solution, and in response to recent developments in wound care reimbursement, Reapplix, Nuo Therapeutics, and RedDress are exploring autologous blood products—those created from patients’ own blood.

The essence of wound care is supporting the body’s natural ability to heal by controlling the environment at the wound site, ensuring it stays clean, moist, and breathable so that the tissue can repair itself. At its most basic level, fibrous dressings such as gauze bandages are an inexpensive mainstay in the treatment arsenal. Yet, when difficult wounds like diabetic foot ulcers and venous leg ulcers present hard-to-heal lesions that cannot close on their own, some patients live with the pain and stigma for months, even surpassing a year in certain cases. Between chronic inflammation, nutritional deficiency, and circulation issues at the wound site, such injuries cannot be healed without an additional mechanism of action to overcome these obstacles.

Negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) is a modern paradigm in wound care, involving the application of a vacuum to draw wound exudate into a dressing and stimulate cytokinetic activity. However, it is not suitable for all types of wounds, particularly those on the contours of the legs and feet. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has also been championed as a healing tool recently, especially by the professional athletics community, but its effects may not be sufficiently concentrated at the location of the wound to make much of an impact. With these technological advancements taking place over the last decade-plus, ironically, the answer might lie within—the patient’s blood stream, that is. Today, several companies are utilizing the natural building blocks of healing that a patient’s body produces, but can’t deliver to the wound bed effectively, to offer long-awaited relief from some of the most enduring wounds. Each in its own way, Reapplix, Nuo Therapeutics, and RedDress have developed means of empowering patients to be their own cure.


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