Leg ulcers are a chronic manifestation of sickle-cell disease (SCD) and are often painful, disabling, and difficult to treat. RGD peptide matrix treatment is a novel therapy designed to provide a topical synthetic extracellular matrix that can act as a temporary substitute for the damaged natural matrix at the ulcer site. In this randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, prospective, multicenter investigation, SCD patients with full-thickness leg ulcers were treated with standard therapy plus RGD peptide matrix or saline placebo once weekly for up to 10 weeks. Healing in patients with chronic ulcers (2 months or greater in duration) was significantly accelerated (P = .0085) in RGD peptide matrix recipients compared with the placebo group. In these chronic ulcer cases, the average percent ulcer closure (decrease in ulcer surface area) in the RGD peptide matrix group (54.4% +/- 8.9%) exceeded that in the placebo group (19.0% +/- 24.3%) nearly threefold by study endpoint. Furthermore, RGD peptide matrix was equally effective in promoting healing of long persistent ulcers and ulcers of shorter duration. In contrast, standard therapy plus placebo was significantly less effective (P = .001) in promoting healing for ulcers of progressively greater duration. The results of this study provide preliminary evidence that RGD peptide matrix treatment may significantly accelerate healing of chronic sickle-cell leg ulcers.

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