Innovative treatment for chronic wounds using an autologous whole blood clot

For people living with chronic wounds, finding a treatment that is both efficient and non-invasive can be challenging. In any hospital, there are always, at any given time, patients with chronic wounds. In worst cases, this leads to leg or limb amputation.

Treating these wounds is often a burden to hospitals’ resource. In South Africa, these wounds severely affect the quality of life of sick people and the elderly, as attests a five-year scientific review published by the World Journal of Surgery, of all patients who underwent lower limb amputations from 2013 to 2018, the median age was 61.5 years.

In 2017, the World Journal of Plastic Surgery defined a chronic wound as “a wound that does not heal in an expected way and in a predictable amount of time as most wounds do.” Common causes of chronic wounds are diabetes, vascular disease, infection, prolonged immobility, and surgery.

The majority of lifestyle diseases (with diabetics accounting for 53,7% of amputees while hypertensive for the remaining 56,3%, according to the said review), and the dire prospect that the patients face has prompted the curiosity of researchers and highlighted the need for long-term solutions.

After identifying poor blood circulation in the affected areas as a preponderant cause, RedDress, a privately held, American based company, has introduced the first wound treatment that transforms a patient’s blood into an autologous whole blood clot tissue to supply the wound with sufficient blood to heal. One Eight Innovation is introducing the treatment to South Africans, and so far, it has already saved four patients’ limbs from amputation.

“The ActiGraft treatment combines technological innovation with the strengthening of the natural healing power of the body. First, a small amount of blood is taken from the patient and injected into a unique ‘clotting mould’ with medical reagents. The compound tissue is then placed over the wound and firmly dressed. Placing the tissue and dressing takes only about 10 minutes, but its effect is long-lasting. The biological components of this product rebuild the natural environment necessary for the healing process, creates new blood vessels, and promote the closing of the wound,” says Sr. Liezel Naude, Wound Specialist.

Naude further adds that blood is an innate healer of injuries and insufficient blood supply to the wound causes it to be stagnant. This further explains why this new treatment uses clotted blood to dress chronic abrasions. The clotting stimulates inflammatory cascade, granulation, and neogenesis to provide the wound with sufficient oxygen to enhance its remedial process.

“Concerning its safety, ActiGraft has received 510(k) clearance from the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The treatment is 100% safe to use, without major adverse events, and works in 75% of patients. The blood clotting preparations take approximately 15 minutes, while wound dressing takes 5 minutes less. Depending on the size of the wound, it takes 5–10 weeks for it to heal completely,” says Moshe Lichtenstein, Founder and Managing Director of One Eight Innovation.

Furthermore, dressing only takes place once a week, following normal clinical wound care/cleaning processes.