BackgroundDiabetic foot ulcers (DFUs) are the most common cause of leg amputations and their management is extremely challenging. Despite many advances and expensive therapies, there has been little success in improving outcomes of DFUs. In prior work our laboratory has examined the effects of beta-adrenergic antagonists (βAAs) on skin and skin-derived cells. We have shown that βAAs enhance the rate of keratinocyte migration, promote angiogenesis, and hasten wound healing in scratch wounds in vitro, in animal wound models, and in anecdotally reported cases of chronic wounds that healed successfully after topical application of the βAA timolol. Thus, we propose to test timolol directly on DFUs to determine if it improves healing above the current standard of care (SOC). This study will examine the efficacy and safety of topically applied beta-antagonist Timoptic-XE® (timolol maleate ophthalmic gel forming solution) in subjects with DFUs.
Methods/designThis is a phase two, randomized, double-blinded, controlled, and parallel-group clinical trial with two treatment arms, SOC plus topical Timoptic-XE® and SOC plus a non-biologically active gel (hydrogel, as placebo drug). Study subjects with a DFU will be selected from the Veterans Affairs Northern California Health Care System (VANCHCS). Study duration is up to 31 weeks, with three phases (screening phase for two weeks, active phase for up to 12 weeks, with an additional second consecutive confirmatory visit after 2 weeks, and follow-up phase comprising monthly visits for 4 months). Subjects will apply daily either the topical study drug or the placebo on the foot ulcer for 12 weeks or until healed, whichever comes first. Measurements of wound size and other data will be collected at baseline, followed by weekly visits for 12 weeks, and then a monthly follow-up period.
DiscussionThis is a clinical translation study, moving the investigators' pre-clinical laboratory research into a translational study in which we will analyze clinical outcomes to assess for safety and estimate the efficacy of a topical beta-antagonist in healing of DFUs. The results from this trial may establish new treatment paradigms and safety profile for DFU treatment.
Trial registrationClinicalTrials.gov, NCT03282981. Registered on June 14th, 2018.