Researchers at the University of Notre Dame recently received $4.6 million from the US Department of Defense to help fund studies for a drug they developed for the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers. The compound, called (R)-ND-336, is a topical gel. It was developed by Mayland Chang, PhD, research professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Shahriar Mobashery, PhD, the Navari Family Professor in Life Sciences in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. The studies are required before the compound can be given approval by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to be tested on people. Chang and Mobashery expect this pre-clinical phase to last 2 years, and both anticipate the compound to move ahead to human trials.
Additionally, they have shown that their compound should not cause cancer or have other toxic side effects, unlike becaplermin, the only FDA-approved drug on the market to treat diabetic ulcers. Becaplermin, which was introduced 20 years ago, uses a growth factor to stimulate tissue healing and is moderately effective but has a Black Box warning for an increase in cancer and death. They compared its effectiveness with (R)-ND-336 in diabetic mice and showed that (R)-ND-336 was more effective.