A RESEARCH trial to find out if a new patch made up of a patient's own living blood cells and platelets can help heal diabetic foot ulcers is taking place at Bradford Royal Infirmary.

Healthcare professionals believe the new LeucoPatches, which are applied directly on to the wound, can get the body’s healing system to work better.

Lead diabetes research nurse Christine Kelly has high hopes for the new patch device.

She said: "Diabetic foot ulcers are a source of considerable suffering and there are currently no wound care products available that have clearly demonstrated success at improving healing.

"There have been some small, promising studies which show that the use of platelets or white blood cells got from taking 18mls of the patient's own blood may have healing properties as they appear to show that they can help stop bleeding diabetic foot ulcers by releasing chemicals called growth factors."

The LeucoPatch dressing is made up individually for each patient and applied every week until the ulcer heals.

She added: "It’s an exciting development as through this study, we can explore whether this new technique makes a real difference to the rate of healing in patients."

Around 15 in every 110 people with diabetes will get a foot ulcer and, generally, only half of these will heal in six months. At the BRI, around 150 patients visit the diabetic foot clinic every week.

Already 15 patients have agreed to join the blind, randomised trial at the BRI which means that half will receive the Leucopatch, while the other half will be treated with usual best care dressings.

After the trial finishes, all patients will receive six and 12 month follow-up appointments, so that investigators can see how they are healing and compare treatments.

In all 25 secondary care centres in the UK, Denmark and Sweden are taking part - 17 of which are in England.

The trial's results will not be known until the study ends in 2016.

The Bradford team is led by doctors Donald Whitelaw and Susana Gonzalez as well as Christine Kelly and four podiatrists.

Dr Whitelaw said: "The LeucoPatch trial gives us the opportunity to take part in medical research and gives our diabetic foot ulcer patients a chance to try something new which may work out better than the conventional treatments and dressings we have available today."