Veins poorly bringing blood to heart

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Posted: Monday, April 29, 2013 4:01 pm | Updated: 4:41 pm, Wed Jul 3, 2013.

It happens when veins don't properly bring blood back to the heart and it can lead to large painful wounds that can last weeks, months or even years. It's believed up to two million Americans suffer from it.

Live human cells could help spray away the problem.

“It was just a fingernail scratch, wasn't nothing major."

That little scratch turned into a big problem for Jessica Riley. “It was almost instantaneously, bigger than I could have ever imagined."

She developed a chronic venous leg ulcer. "It was very painful."

Jessica lived with the open wound for almost two years. "You could imagine having to take care of this thing 24/7 and if it's not healing, you'd be pretty depressed."

Director of UNC's Wound Healing Center, Doctor William Marston, is testing a new spray on patients. "The hope is that it will accelerate the healing process."

The spray is unique because, "It's living human cells."

The cells release growth factors into the wound that spur tissue regeneration. In phase two clinical trials, wounds treated with the spray had a 52-percent greater chance of healing compared to wounds treated with compression bandages.

Jessica was in the study. While she doesn't know if she got the real spray or a placebo, her ulcer went from this, to this in seven weeks. "I was like, wow!"

Today, Jessica's wound is still discolored, but completely closed. The doctor tells us there have been no significant side effects with the cellular spray. Additional trials are underway.

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