Canadians with diabetes are 23 times more likely than the general population to be hospitalized with a lower limb amputation, which usually result from complications arising from a diabetic foot ulcer (DFU). If a patient has an amputation, they have a 30% risk of dying within the first year, which is more than the lifetime risk of dying from colon or breast cancer.
The CROSS Lab is working towards finding innovative diagnostic and treatment strategies for wounds of all kinds, with a major focus on DFUs and lower limb wounds. Using a patient-centered approach and following the principles of minimally disruptive medicine, our research explores 3 main areas:
1) Mobile Health (mHealth) Technologies: We have developed new technology for early detection of DFUs using near-infrared light and a patient’s own cell phone. We hope that in the near future this technology will allow doctors to monitor their patients from home, preventing unnecessary trips to the hospital and improving outcomes.
2) Nutrition: Research has shown that patients who are malnourished are more likely to have complications following surgery and have difficulty healing their wounds. We have developed a screening strategy to identify patients who are at risk for malnutrition quickly and easily, such that we can support healing through proper nutrition.
3) Wound Infection: Chronic wounds are often colonized with semi-dormant and difficult-to-treat bacterial communities called biofilms. We are investigating chronic wound biofilms from a basic science perspective using metagenomic sequencing, and using innovative technologies like topical oxygen and ultrasound debridement to treat the biofilm and improve healing.