Diabetes has become a worldwide epidemic, with current projections that almost 5% of the world population will have diabetes by 2030. About 6% of all adults 65 or older with diabetes in the U.S. develop diabetic foot ulcers (DFU) and 0.5% have a lower extremity amputation, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine. According to Medscape.com, the cost of treating DFUs ranges from about $12,000 to $17,000 each, for an annual national total of $9 to $13 billion; that is nearly twice the cost of treating diabetes itself. The current costly and often invasive diabetic foot ulcer treatments also have a significant incidence of ulcer recurrence.
Sanuwave’s dermaPACE, currently in clinical trials, uses Pulsed Acoustic Cellular Pressure (PACE) to send acoustic shock waves to an injured area. This increases blood flow and speeds healing. Sanuwave’s technology currently has CE approval for use in Europe for a variety of healing applications, and the acoustic shock wave technology has FDA approval in the U.S. for use with tennis elbow and plantar faciitis. Consisting of a power console and a hand-held applicator that is pressed directly on a wound, the dermaPACE unit sends a “mesh” of 500 horizontal and vertical sound wave shocks to the area during a four-minute treatment. According to Sanuwave, the sound wave stretches and bends individual cells to influence them to start or speed up healing. The treatment is fast, does not require anesthesia, and costs a fraction of current treatments. The company expects to come out of trials with FDA approval, hopefully in time to get the product to market in the U.S. by year’s end.
Blood flow in injured areas is a good thing, as I have learned first hand with two rotator cuff surgeries in recent years. The relative lack of blood flow in the shoulders contributes to many rotator cuff injuries and during my recovery it was stressed repeatedly that I swing my arms a lot to increase blood flow so healing could occur as quickly and thoroughly as possible. While dermaPACE’s use in treating diabetic foot ulcers is a high priority first application in the U.S., the potential for myriad other healing applications with both increased blood flow and cellular healing involvement is exciting if it works as the company expects.