Wednesday, September 2, 2009

New research trial offers hope for diabetic patients

By ISABELLE LAI

KUALA LUMPUR: Diabetic patients with severe foot complications requiring a second foot amputation can now take hope in a new clinical research trial that will be carried out in Malaysia early next year.

Organised by the Medico-Dental Aesthetic Center Springvale Sdn Bhd (MACS), it will be the first in Asia where clinical research and service are combined.

MACS research investigator Dr George Varughese said the high quality research represented a significant boost to medical research in Malaysia as it would be published in high impact medical journals worldwide.

“MACS through our Clinical Research Organisation will focus on tissue repair and tissue rejuvenation,” he said.

MACS will work with Monash University of Melbourne researchers.

“Monash is an internationally focused university with an excellent emphasis on research. They will help us structure how the trials will be carried out and liaise with Malaysian economists as well as to see whether the treatment is cost-effective for the Government,” he said.

Employing hyperbaric oxygen therapy, the treatment aims to prevent the need for a second foot amputation.

“The first amputation could be just a toe, but is often followed by a second amputation at the ankle or knee that drastically changes a patient’s lifestyle,” said Monash University Honorary Associate and The Alfred Hospital Hyperbaric Unit head Dr Ian Millar.

He added that hyperbaric treatment had been proven effective for difficult infections and wounds that took an abnormal time to heal.

“The patient will sit in a pressurised chamber for about one to two hours daily depending on their condition, and just breathe in pure oxygen at high pressure. This helps maximise the body’s response to infection and accelerate its healing capacity,” he said, explaining that the pressure was slightly less than the pressure of a car tyre.

The four hyperbaric chambers to be used in the research will be sponsored by Sechrist Industries USA which is the world’s largest manufacturer and designer of such chambers.

Gleneagles Intan Medical Centre is being considered as a possible site for the trial. - The Star

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