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Can Proteomics Predict And Facilitate Wound Healing?
By Brian McCurdy, Senior Editor As wound care methodology and technology continues to evolve, one research team is utilizing genetic technology for the purpose of healing wounds. The Center for Lower Extremity Ambulatory Research (CLEAR) at the William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in Chicago is working with the science of proteomics, which may help DPMs better determine the ability and the rate with which patients can heal their wounds. Proteomics has been defined as the study of large-scale protein expression patterns in cell/tissue and is the “new genomics,” according to David G. Armstrong, DPM, PhD, the Director of CLEAR. CLEAR partners with the renowned Midwest Proteome Center under the direction of Marc J. Glucksman, PhD. The center partners with numerous other institutions, including the Argonne National Laboratories. As Dr. Armstrong explains, proteomics identifies the various proteins that genes code for. He says this process is “highly intricate, and at the same time, highly practical for identifying meaningful proteomic fingerprints.” What are the practical implications of proteomics? Seminal questions in the wound healing field include which patients will heal quickly, which will not heal quickly, and how practitioners can rapidly discover who will heal quickly, according to Dr. Armstrong. He notes that DPMs often ask why one patient receiving a certain wound healing therapy healed while the other patient did not. Dr. Armstrong, a Professor of Surgery, Chair of Research and Assistant Dean at the William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine, says his team strongly believes that “work in (proteomics) can shed some light on these questions and do so in a way that brings a great deal of positive attention to this field. Our unit has renamed this highly directed area ‘podiomics.’ We will see where it leads.” Furthermore, Dr. Armstrong says work on proteomics may spur the development of an area of molecular diagnostics delivered either at the point and time of the initial care or continuously, such as in negative pressure wound therapy. As Dr. Armstrong notes, clinicians could then pay further attention to patients who fail therapy by modifying either the technology they are using or their approach, and accordingly target these therapies to those who need it the most.